You pick up your Bible for the four-thousandth day in a row and wonder, “Why am I doing this? Is it really making a difference?” I’ve been there. It’s easy to wonder if our time in God’s Word is really making a difference as we continue to be faithful day after day. Satan wants us to remain discouraged in our walks with the Lord, but we must persevere in encouraging ourselves in the Lord. If you need a little extra encouragement today, I want to share with you some thoughts on faithfulness. I want to encourage you to commit to a lifetime of faithfulness in walking with God when you don’t feel like it, when you don’t see results, and when no one sees.


There have been many times when I haven’t felt like reading my Bible, but I did it anyway. For a long time, I would have been embarrassed to admit that, believing that it made me a hypocrite. But it’s completely normal to have days (or weeks or months) in which you just don’t feel like reading God’s Word. You may be in a particularly exhausting season of life (hello, motherhood), or you may be going through a season of discouragement and depression. Spending time with the Lord is relationship building, and relationship building can be exhausting! Be faithful in your time with the Lord anyway. He will speak the words of hope into your heart that you so desperately need.


Even when God is speaking those words of hope into your heart, you may not see the results that you’re longing for from your time with Him. But our time with God isn’t a magic formula to fix all of our problems. It’s a daily time of growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord. If you have a season when your time in God’s Word feels fruitless, remember that His Word will never return void. He is sowing seeds in your heart that will bloom into a fruitful life lived for Him.


We have become spoiled to instant affirmation. We make a post on Facebook or Instagram, and we see the likes come pouring in. We bask in the approval of others, but our time with the Lord takes place in the quiet where nobody sees. It’s hard to be faithful in something when there’s no praise to be had in the end, but this is where faithfulness counts the most. It doesn’t matter if anybody ever notices my faithfulness. When I get to the end of my life, I want to hear God say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” So today I ask myself, do I want a moment of fame or a lifetime of faithfulness?


Does this mean you’ll never feel like it, never see results, and never receive encouragement from anyone to keep being faithful in your walk with the Lord? Of course not! There will be many seasons that are marked by a hunger for God’s Word, and you’ll feel like you can never get enough. You’ll see growth as you continue in faithfulness day after day, and God will send people into your life to encourage you to keep going. If you’re reading this, let me be one of those people today. Keep going. Your faithfulness will be worth it. And when you finally meet God face to face, you’ll be glad you spent your life getting to know Him.


I started writing notes in the margins of my Bible around the time I was thirteen. I wanted to remember the things I was learning! Occasionally I would write a date to go with my note if the date felt significant at the time, but most of the time I just jotted little notes. Over the last couple of years, I’ve started to write a date next to every note I make in my Bible. There are two reasons why I believe it would be helpful for you to do the same.


When I look back on the notes in my Bible, it’s helpful to see how God used His Word to speak to me in a particular season of life. If I didn’t write the date, I would have no context for what the application may have been to my life at the time I made a note. It’s a blessing to look back on my notes that are dated during the time my dad was in the hospital, or when we were preparing to move from Utah to Tennessee. If I hadn’t written down the date, I wouldn’t be able to remember how God’s Word specifically sustained me through those situations.


God uses His Word to prepare us for the things that are yet to come in our lives. It’s exciting to be able to look back and see how God was speaking to me shortly before He brought my husband into my life. Or I can find comfort in the things God was working in my heart about in the days before my grandfather passed away. Even if this today doesn’t feel significant, write the date anyway. You may be able to look back and see that God knew what was coming in your life before you even had a clue. You will be able to see how He was preparing you for the good times and the hard times through your daily time in His Word.


It can also be helpful to keep a journal to remember what’s happening in your life so you can look back on those dates. One line a day journals are a great way to start! Do you write dates in your Bible? Do you have any other ways that help you remember how God has worked in your life? Tell me about them in the comments!


I was sixteen when I realized I had never read the whole Bible. I said I believed what the Bible said, but I didn’t really know what it said! It wasn’t for lack of trying that I hadn’t read it; I had started “ read through the Bible in a year” plans time and time again, but I would always get behind and end up quitting altogether. I usually made it to Leviticus or Numbers before quitting. One time I made it all the way to Joshua! 

When I decided it was finally time for me to read through the whole Bible for the first time, I knew those “Bible in a year” plans weren’t going to work. If those plans haven’t worked for you either, I want to share with you the method I used to successfully read through the Bible for the first time.


Chances are, you’ve read some of the books of the Bible. When I set out to read the whole Bible, I had already read the first five books multiple times. I had read many books from the New Testament, and I loved reading the Psalms. But the books in the middle like Ezekiel? I probably hadn’t read a single verse from them!

If you want to read the entire Bible, don’t start with books you’ve already read because, well, you’ve already read them! Once you read the books you haven’t read, you will have read the whole Bible.

Write down all the books you haven’t read (or aren’t sure if you’ve read the whole thing) on a Post-it Note and put it in the front of your Bible. Use as many Post-it Notes as you need! This is your list of books to read.


It’s honestly not important that you read the Bible cover to cover (although you may want to do this at some point). The Bible isn’t in chronological order; it’s organized by type of book (poetry, prophecy, history, etc.). All the books work together to tell the complete story of God’s redemption of mankind, but they can be read as stand alone books. The first time you’re going through the Bible, don’t worry about going in order. Pick a book from your list that you’re interested in, and read through it. When you’re done, cross it off the list and move on to another book!


Reading through the Bible in a year is great, and it’s honestly not that difficult for me anymore. But the first time I read through my Bible, it was difficult. I was reading these books for the first time, and I had to go much more slowly to fully take in what they were saying.

If you’re just starting out, go at a slow pace. I just read one chapter a day to start. You may want to set a timer and just read for five minutes a day. Use washi tape or a small Post-it Note to mark your place when you’re done! 

You won’t read through the Bible in a year this way, but you will read through it. As you become more familiar with what the Bible says, you’ll easily be able to read it through in a year, but you don’t need to do this your very first time. Even a few minutes of reading a day will help you grow in your relationship with God and your understanding of His truth.


If you follow these steps, you will eventually work your way through the whole Bible. Once you’ve read all the books, you may want to start at the beginning and read it from beginning to end. Or maybe you’ll want to do a chronological reading plan! The options are endless, and God’s Word is limitless in its ability to speak into our lives and change us into the image of the One who breathed it into existence.

Do you have any more tips for reading through the Bible for the first time? I would love to hear about them in the comments!


I have a confession: I don’t always want to have my quiet time. Sometimes I have lengthy seasons that are completely dry, and I would just as soon not open God’s Word. Nonetheless, I continue to have a quiet time when I don’t want to. Why? Isn’t that just hypocritical? If my heart isn’t in it, why bother?

Just as I sometimes don’t want to read my Bible, the Israelites came to a point where they were tired of manna, God’s sustaining provision in their lives. (If you missed the first two posts in this series on manna, you can find them here: Manna: What Is It? and Manna: What Does It Represent?)

Numbers 11:4-6

And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick; but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

The Israelites longed for something more satisfying, and they thought they could find it in their former pleasure in the land of Egypt. They failed to realize that God had provided them with everything they needed. God has provided us with what we need to fill our deepest hunger through His Word. When we don’t want to read God’s Word, there are three things we must remember.


The problem is never with God’s provision; the problem is with my heart attitude. Whether it is a result of sin in my life or a result of a season of discouragement, the reason for a lack of desire to read God’s Word is not that His Word is no longer satisfying. God’s Word will always be perfect, exactly what I need to satisfy my deepest longings. If I’m not satisfied, I am the problem. I may need to deal with the sin issue in my life or persevere through a season of discouragement, but I don’t ever want to neglect to read God’s Word. He will use it to help me to come through to the other side of whatever I’m facing.


God’s Word is essential for my survival spiritually, just as food is essential for my survival physically. I wouldn’t go days without eating just because nothing sounds good. My survival instinct would kick in, and I would have to eat something. There’s no use skipping a spiritual meal just because it doesn’t sound appetizing. God’s Word will nourish our souls, even when we don’t realize it.


As much as I strive for my appetites to be for spiritual things, there are times when I just want spiritual junk food. Nothing sinful, per se. I just want to scroll social media or read a fiction book for hours on end. I somehow feel like this will satisfy me. But God says differently.

Deuteronomy 8:3

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

Manna was meant to be a reminder that more than we need food to survive, we need the Word of God. I may think something else will satisfy me, but I must trust that God knows what I need. He has provided completely satisfying food for my soul through His Word.

What about you? What helps you stay consistent when you’re going through a dry season? Share with me in the comments! If you need help staying consistent, I would love to provide you with a tool to help. The Sixty Second Quiet Time is an easy way to consistently connect with God, even in the dry seasons. Leave your name and email address below, and I will send this guide to your inbox for free.


Last week on the blog, we talked about what manna was. (If you missed it, you can find the post here.) This week I want to share with you what the Lord has been teaching me about what manna represents in our lives.

Deuteronomy 8:3

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

Manna is a beautiful picture of God’s Word in our daily lives. More than we need physical food, we need God’s Word in our lives every day to sustain us. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He actually quoted from this passage of Scripture.

Matthew 4:4

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

If Jesus, being God, needed the Word of God to sustain Him, how much more do we need it? I want to share with you three parallels between manna and the Word of God in our lives. I pray that this picture will help you find satisfaction in the Word of God the way it has helped me.


When the children of Israel were given manna for the first time in answer to their prayers, Moses instructed them on what to do with it.

Exodus 16:16

This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

The manna was there for the taking, but it wouldn’t do the Israelites any good if they didn’t take it! God’s Word is exactly the same. It’s there to nourish our souls, but if we don’t get up every day and actually read it, it won’t do us any good.


Exodus 16:17-18

And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

It doesn’t matter how much or how little we read of God’s Word every day; it will always be enough. On the days when we can sit and read chapters at a time, it will be enough. But on the days when we barely find time to read a few verses, it will still be enough. God’s Word is always enough.


Exodus 16:19-20

And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

I love working ahead. In fact, I’m working ahead right now. This blog post won’t be published for nine more days, but I’m getting it ready now because I’ll be traveling before it’s published. But our quiet time doesn’t work like that. I can’t store up nine days worth of quiet time now so that I’m free to do other things later. I also can’t somehow make up for a missed day by reading extra the next day. God’s Word will always be exactly enough for the day that I’m in right now, no more and no less. It will always be exactly what I need.

I pray that these words will encourage you to gather the sustaining bread of God’s Word every day. He has so many wonderful things in store for you! I’ll be continuing this series on manna next Friday. If you don’t want to miss it, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter by leaving your name and email address below. I’ll send a new devotional to your inbox every week, as well as a link to my latest blog post so you never miss a thing.


My toddler wakes up in the morning with one thing on her mind: toast. How do I know? It’s the first word out of her mouth the moment her feet hit the floor. She loves toast, and she wants it every single day. She loves toast so much, she can’t even wait for it to finish toasting. So, she eats half a piece of plain bread while the other half toasts.

There’s so much about my toddler’s vibrance and vigor for life that I admire. This may seem like a silly one, but physical hunger and the desire to fill it is such a natural part of life. Just ask the Israelites in the wilderness. They had one thing on their mind: food.

Exodus 16:2-3

And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: and the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

God had brought them out of the land of Egypt, but they weren’t too thrilled about it. What was the point of being free if they were going to starve to death? But they could have trusted the God who set them free to take care of their every need. He had no intention of letting them starve.

Exodus 16:4

Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

God heard the cries of his children for toast, and He was going to provide bread from heaven to meet their needs.

Exodus 16:14-15

And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

Have you ever wondered where the name “manna” came from? It literally means, “What is it?” The Israelites had no clue what this white stuff on the ground was! It wasn’t snow in the desert; it was a miracle even greater. God had provided for their most basic need, even when they didn’t believe He would. I can trust that God will provide for my needs as well.

God wanted so much more than to meet their physical needs. He had a lesson to teach them, and He wanted to provide for their spiritual needs as well. I’ll be sharing more about manna on the blog next Friday. If you don’t want to miss it, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter by leaving your name and email address below. I’ll send a fresh devotional to your inbox every week, as well as a link to my latest blog post so you never miss a thing. (You’ll also get my 60 Second Quiet Time in your inbox today, absolutely free!)


The options for devotional materials are endless, and I feel like I’ve tried almost everything. Devotional books, prayer journals, journaling prompts, gratitude journals, journaling Bibles, and just plain Bibles. Then there are the accessories. Accessories??? Pens, markers, highlighters, pencils, washi tape, and Post-it Notes. And should I drink coffee or tea? Who knew having a quiet time could be so complicated!

It’s easy to get bogged down in what you believe your quiet time should look like physically, but I recently had an encouraging conversation with a friend that challenged me in my thinking. If you’re overwhelmed with all the options, I want to share with you three essential elements of a quiet time to help you have a meaningful, daily time with the Lord.


Our quiet time isn’t just another thing for us to do; it’s about a Person who wants to spend time with us. What matters about our quiet time is spending time with God. A quiet time should begin with placing our focus on the Person we are spending time with. What if we sat down and asked God what He wanted our quiet time to look like? His answer for you may be different than His answer for me; it may even be different than what you expected it to be! Rather than holding yourself to an impossible standard of what you think your quiet time should look like, ask God to show you what He wants. I know this is a prayer He will answer! If our focus is in the right place, there are really only two other essential elements to a quiet time.


Relationships are built on listening. It seems obvious that if we want to build a relationship with God, we should listen to what He has to say. I’m so thankful He has preserved His perfect Word for us to read in the English language. We don’t have to wait for some miraculous revelation to hear from God; He’s already given us everything we need in the Bible. Although reading what men have written about God’s Word can be helpful, it’s important to first understand what God has said in His Word firsthand. I’m thankful for commentaries and Bible study tools, but they can never replace the Word of God. It is an essential element in a quiet time.


I’m a quiet person by nature. Unfortunately, this has kept me from making friends many times over the years. I’m happy to listen to someone talk all day long, but a relationship can never really be built unless I open myself up to that person as well. God already knows everything about us, but He still wants us to talk to Him in order to build a close relationship! My approach to quiet time has often been like my approach to friendship: I would much rather read what God has to say than say anything myself. But prayer is an essential element of quiet time. If you don’t know what to say to God, start by telling Him about your day. He’s always ready to listen.


If our focus is on God and we include some element of listening to Him through His Word and speaking to Him through prayer, the rest of what our quiet time looks like is between us and the Lord. The length of time or the number of chapters we read don’t matter. What matters is that we’re sensitive to what the Lord is leading us to do.


Journaling is by far my favorite activity. I started keeping a journal when I was ten years old, and I’ve hardly missed a day since. I saw a journaling Bible for the first time when I was in high school, and the concept was beyond appealing to me. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually get one. Probably because I’ve never actually bought myself a Bible; they’ve always been gifted to me.

My husband bought a journaling Bible for me last fall. A friend of ours hand painted the cover, and it is absolutely beautiful. Beauty aside, what I love about it the most is the purpose for which it was made: taking notes in the margins. I’ve always written notes in the tiny margins of my Bibles, but I finally have a Bible with plenty of space for writing. If you’re interested in Bible journaling, I want to share my Bible journaling essentials with you to help you get started.


This one is obvious, but you’ll need a journaling Bible. There are many options, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The two main options are margins without lines and margins with lines. My journaling Bible has margins with lines. This is a good option for me because I’m using it to write notes about the passage of Scripture I’m reading. If you’re a note taker, this would be a good option for you. I like this one.

If you’re more artistic and want to do hand lettering or sketches in the margins, a Bible without lined margins might be a better option for you. This one would be perfect!


I was never one to highlight in my Bible until I started using a journaling Bible, but now that I’ve started, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Underlining is fine, but highlighters look so much neater. I love these highlighters because they are double ended. The fine tip end is perfect for highlighting in smaller print Bibles. They’re also not fluorescent like most highlighters, and they don’t bleed through. (Disclaimer: journaling Bibles usually have thicker pages. I can’t say if they would bleed through a regular Bible with very thin pages.)


You’ll want a pen that you like to write with. I use a nice ballpoint pen like this one. Fountain pens are always fun, but I haven’t tried one in my journaling Bible. This really depends on your preference. If there’s a type of pen you normally like writing with, go with that one. You really can’t go wrong.


You can use washi tape for so many different things. The thing I use it for the most is marking the verse where I left off. I just tear off a little piece and stick it by the verse where I want to pick up tomorrow. It won’t ruin the pages of any Bible, and you can reuse the same piece over and over. You could also stick a strip of washi tape vertically beside a passage you want to take notes on. This would mark which verses go with which notes. Get creative here!


The sky is really the limit when it comes to Bible journaling, but these are my essentials to get you started. If you have any other tips, I would love to hear about them in the comments!


My toddler woke up at 6:45 a.m. this morning ready to go. Ready or not, it was time to get up. I don’t even try to get up before my little early riser to read my Bible in the morning, and I’m totally okay with that. There’s nothing wrong with waiting to have a quiet time when you’re at your best. For me right now, that’s 1:30 p.m. when my toddler is napping. That’s my daily appointment with the Lord, and I look forward to it.

I’ve heard many good arguments for keeping a morning quiet time, and I have no desire to dispute those. There are excellent reasons to meet with the Lord first thing in the morning, and I look forward to the time when I will again be able to have that time in the morning. Meeting with the Lord in the morning sets the tone for your day and gives you the strength you need for whatever may come your way. But if it’s not possible to have a quality quiet time with the Lord in the morning, there are a few things you can do to set the right tone for your day anyway.


Our Bible reading time doesn’t always have to be extensive, and our quiet time may not always be quiet. Even though I don’t have my quiet time in the mornings, I like to read a Psalm out loud at the breakfast table with my daughter. It’s important for her to hear the Word of God, but I do this mostly for myself. This gives me a chance to get my focus on the Lord, and it sets a positive tone for the rest of my day.


If you’re an auditory learner like my husband, this may be a good option for you. You can listen to the Bible on an app on your phone while you get ready in the morning. I still recommend having a time later when you sit down and focus completely on spending time with God, but this is a great way to set the tone for your day until you have time for a more focused quiet time.


Even when life is a little chaotic, having uplifting music playing in the background can make a big difference in your mindset. Have a go-to playlist of encouraging Christian music to easily set the right tone for the day for your entire family. When things quiet down a little bit and you are able to have a focused time with the Lord, your heart will already be prepared for what He has to teach you.

I pray that these ideas will give you a practical way to set the tone for your day when it’s just not possible to have a morning quiet time. Do you have any more tips? Tell me about them in the comments! If you need a practical way to focus your attention on the Lord, I have a free resource just for you. The 60 Second Quiet Time is designed to teach busy women how to take just one minute to refocus their attention on the Lord. Enter your name and email address below, and I will send this guide directly to your inbox!


I’ve consistently taken sermon notes for over half of my life, but I’ve always felt a little bit of regret that I didn’t know how I could possibly find a set of notes again if I wanted to reference it. So, my journals have just collected dust on my shelves as time has passed. Occasionally I’ve remembered a specific sermon and tried in vain to find my notes. I may have actually gone back and read my notes once or twice, but certainly no more than that.

I was recently sitting listening to a sermon, and there were so many incredible truths mentioned that I wanted to write all of them in the margin of my Bible so that I wouldn’t forget them! Unfortunately, there wasn’t room in the margin of my Bible, and I was faced with the sad reality that I likely wouldn’t go back and read my sermon notes again. In that moment, I thought of a way that I could easily reference my sermon notes over and over again. Not only would this serve to help me remember the sermons I hear, but it would also enhance my personal Bible study. Over the last couple months, I’ve developed a system to take sermon notes that are actually usable. I hope part (or all!) of this system will be helpful for you, too.

Keep your notes in one place, in chronological order.

Whether you scribble sermon notes on the back of a bulletin or fill in the blanks on a handout, chances are you aren’t keeping that piece of paper very long. I love fill in the blank handouts as much as the next person, but after a while, it’s almost impossible to keep up with them all!

Personally, I find that it’s best to have a notebook specifically for taking sermon notes. I use these Moleskine notebooks. If your church does use some sort of printed outline, go ahead and take one; just transfer any notes you want to keep into your notebook.

If the fill in the blank outline is a must for you, there are a couple ways to keep them organized. You could keep them all in a file box in chronological order, but this may be a little more difficult to sort through when you need to find a specific set of notes. The second option is a bit more labor intensive, but if you have a scanner, you can scan the handouts and save them in a file together on your computer. I had hundreds of sermon notes handouts from college, and I still have them saved on my computer this way.

Whether you write your notes in a notebook, keep them in a file, scan handouts into your computer, or do something entirely different, make sure you keep them in chronological order.

Write the date at the top of your notes and in your Bible next to the key passage.

This is the key to being able to find your notes when you need them. If you’re looking for notes on a specific passage or topic, you’ll be able to find the date in the margin of your Bible. If you have your notes in chronological order, it will be easy to find any notes you have on that specific passage.

I only recently started doing this, but I know it will be so helpful in making my sermon notes actually useful! I’ve kept notes in chronological order for quite some time, so I plan to go back and write the dates for the notes next to the key passages in my Bible.

I realize some people don’t like to write in their Bibles, but I would really encourage you to try this. God wants His Word to make a difference in our everyday lives, and if writing a date in the margins can help you, you should do it! I have a few Bibles (as do many Americans; we are so blessed!), and I use one exclusively for church. There are a few notes in the margins of this Bible, but it’s mostly open for writing dates. If it would help you to get a new Bible just for this purpose, go ahead and do it! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, and the margins don’t have to be especially wide. You just need to be able to write a date. Something like this would work just fine.

Take lots of notes, including lots of Scripture references.

If you don’t know where to start with taking notes, you can just write down the main points as the preacher gives them. Sometimes I do this, but sometimes I just write down the statements that especially speak to my heart. No matter how you take notes, I would encourage you to write down as many Scripture references as you can that are mentioned in the sermon. When you go back to study a passage later, you will be able to look up the references related to that passage. And who knows? Maybe you’ll have sermon notes on those passages to take your study even further!

I hope something here will be helpful to you! Do you have any other ways you keep your sermon notes organized and usable? Let me know in the comments!