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For Jesus And For The Culture. . .Being Black, Christian and a Millennial In America

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace: What it is, What it Isn’t

How to Practice Unforced Rhythms of Grace in Your Daily Life

Dear Reader: 

Whether you are religious or not, the unforced rhythms of grace can be practiced in your daily life.

There is no one way to define grace. It may be defined as the unearned and unmerited favor of God or as an abundance of divine blessings, or it may simply be a state of being that we experience, but regardless of how you define it, you can live by its principles every day.

The most important thing is to be aware of your thoughts and actions. You can do this by paying attention and noticing what you say and do. When you notice thoughts that are unkind, try to replace them with kinder ones. This will help you live a life with unforced rhythms of grace.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

Matthew 11:28-30 is a passage from the Bible that explores how Jesus Christ offers a spiritual solution, which can offer relief to those who are looking for rest.

The Benefits of Living a Gracious Life with Grace

We have been conditioned to believe that life is a battle and that we must fight for every inch of the ground. We are taught to be selfish and self-absorbed. We are told that we should always “do it now”, and “have it all”.

But what if there is another way? What if life is not really a battle at all? What if the world is not really out to get us? What if we do not need to control everything in order to feel safe or successful?

What would happen if we could let go of our fears, our constant yearning for approval, and our need for control?

If we could let go of our fears, our constant yearning for approval, and our need for control then we can take a step back and see that the world is much simpler than we think. We’d have more time to relax and spend time with the people who matter most to us. We would be less stressed out, happier, and more creative.

One way to live in the unforced rhythms of grace is to be near nature. The beauty of the world can be overwhelming, especially if you’re someone who’s been living in a city for a while. If you’re feeling suffocated by the urban lifestyle and need to take a break, take some time to visit nature. Living close to nature is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and improve mental health.

Living close to nature is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and improve mental health. A study published in the journal Nature has found that living near green spaces has even been shown to reduce risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Another way to live in the unforced rhythms of grace is to be kind and gracious. Being gracious and living a life with grace is not just about being polite. It is also about being humble, thankful, and compassionate.

A life of grace is a life of humility, gratitude, and compassion. Grace isn’t just about being polite. It’s about taking the time to appreciate the small things in life that are going right. This is why it’s so important to say thank you when someone does something for you, or even just smiles at you in a store.

Graciousness is the act of being kind and considerate to others without expecting anything in return. It can be seen as an aspect of civility, which refers to the social skills that help us get along with others in society.

The word graciousness is defined as the quality of being kind, quick to forgive, and considerate. It is a virtue that we should try and live by.

Let’s try to live a life that dwells in the unforced rhythms of grace today. 

Tips to Help Keep Your Skin Hydrated This Winter

Dear Reader, 

If you’re like me, you’re not really on the lookout for the newest beauty trends and products to hit store shelves, but you have dry skin. Because of this and social media, you may have noticed that winter skincare is having a moment. This season, it’s all about prep and protection against harsh weather conditions! Here are a few tips to help you get your skin ready for whatever old man winter throws your way.

Invest in a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated during the colder months

When winter rolls around, it can seem like moisture is being sucked right out of the air. That’s why it’s important to invest in a good moisturizer during those months. Not only does a good moisturizer help lock in your skin’s hydration by creating a thin layer over the epidermis, but it also helps replace the existing oils and prevent the skin from drying out. The best moisturizers for winter consist of thicker, oil-based products such as shea butter or jojoba oil, which can help create an effective barrier against environmental stressors while simultaneously helping keep your skin looking smooth and supple. With that said, avoid petrolatum or mineral-oil-based moisturizers because they aren’t effective at hydrating the skin long-term and can clog pores. Ultimately, investing in a quality moisturizer during colder months will do wonders for keeping your skin supple and radiant all season long.

Exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead skin cells and prevent dry, flaky skin

Exfoliation is an often-overlooked part of any skincare regime, but it can make a huge difference in how healthy your skin feels and looks. Regular exfoliation helps to get rid of dead skin cells that block pores and leave the skin feeling dry and flaky. It can also help to prevent acne since it encourages blood circulation while clearing away pore-clogging dirt and oils from the surface of the skin. Depending on your particular needs, you can choose between chemical exfoliants such as glycolic acid or manual exfoliation with a loofah sponge or cleansing brush. Make sure not to overdo it though; you only need to exfoliate once or twice a week so as not to strip away too much moisture from your delicate dermis. With regular exfoliating, you’ll be able to reveal healthier and brighter skin beneath the surface. Enjoy!

Use a face mask at least once a week to nourish your skin

Whether your skin is oily or dry, using a face mask at least once a week can help to improve the complexion and health of your skin. Face masks provide nourishment and hydration to the skin; particularly those with natural ingredients like clay or oats, that can draw out toxins from the pores and detoxify the skin. Not only will this help keep your complexion clean, but it can also reduce wrinkles and prevent acne breakouts. When choosing a face mask for your skin type, look for ingredients like kaolin clay or oatmeal that are natural astringents to absorb excess oil and combat pimples. For sensitive or dry skin, opt for masks with hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or honey that will help soothe and add needed moisture. In short, making use of face masks once a week is an excellent way to tackle common issues such as blemishes, dryness, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles while revitalizing your skin!  Each time you use one you’ll feel more pampered than ever while reaping the numerous benefits they have to offer. Finally, remember that consistent use is key when it comes to achieving long-term results – so don’t forget to stick with it! Your skin will thank you.

Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods to boost your skin’s radiance from the inside out

When we think of improving the health and look of our skin, it can be easy to focus too much on topical treatments like masks and serums. However, it’s also beneficial to take care of your body from the inside out to achieve glowing, flawless skin. Drinking plenty of water is essential for keeping your body hydrated, which is important for digestion and detoxifying your system. Additionally, make sure to consume healthy foods, such as plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains that are packed with long-term nutrient benefits. Not only will these foods fuel you with energy but they’ll also provide you with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will help promote better skin health. Furthermore, avoid processed foods and sugary snacks that can deteriorate the strength of your immune system over time. Incorporating a balanced diet into your routine can go a long way in helping improve the radiance and glow of your skin from within!  Taking care of yourself internally will give you healthier results externally.

Avoid hot showers and baths, which can strip away natural oils from your skin

Everyone knows that warm showers or baths can be a luxurious way to relax after a long day, but did you know that hot water can be damaging to your skin? When it comes to long, hot showers or baths, moderation is key. Hot water strips away natural oils from the skin’s outer layer and breaks down fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin. Additionally, it can encourage the production of sweat and oil glands, leading to even more dryness. To keep your skin looking healthy and radiant, stick to lukewarm showers and baths no longer than 10 minutes and avoid scalding hot temperatures at all costs. Sweat-inducing workouts are best done with cool water and finished off with some cold rinses to close the pores. A gentle cleansing routine will go a long way in keeping your body hydrated and looking its best!  So next time you consider taking an extended soak in hot water – hold back – to maintain healthy, glowing skin!

It is really hard not saturate yourself in hot water when its cold outside but your skin will thank you for exercising self-restraint and moderation. 

Taking care of your skin from the inside and outside is essential for achieving a radiant complexion. Our tips provide you with easy ways to improve the health and look of your skin without having to invest in expensive treatments or products. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, avoid hot showers and baths, and use face masks regularly to see long-term improvements in the appearance of your skin!

Delicious meatless winter meals that will make you forget all about chicken and beef

Dear Reader:

I’m vegan, by food allergies and not really by choice, but oh well..Having been interested in keeping myself alive and respecting my body as a Temple, I’m getting really good at cooking. It’s a major adulting win!

So for those of you out here doing Vegan/No Meat January Challenges  or Meatless Tuesdays or something, here’s winter vegan hits. If you’re vegan and you have some favorites, please drop them in the comments. I am an experimental cook. Also note, you can make some foods faster or slower using air fryer or crockpot respectively. 

If you’re looking for some delicious, winter comfort food that happens to be meatless, you’ve come to the right place. These seven recipes are sure to hit the spot and leave you feeling satisfied. So forget about chicken and beef for a little while and give these hearty, veggie-packed dishes a try. Your taste buds will thank you! I happen to be huge fan of sweet potatoes and red lentils this season so I hope you enjoy those foods too!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Kale and Quinoa

Roasting Food can be a great way to add intriguing layers of flavor, complexity, and depth to otherwise ordinary dishes. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Kale and Quinoa is an excellent example of how roasting can take an everyday dinner item to the next level. Sweet and savory butternut squash, smoky kale, and nutty quinoa come together to create a warm, earthy combination that is sure to please all palates. Building the soup by roasting each of the ingredients separately helps create a complex balance of flavors that could not be achieved if all ingredients were cooked together in one pot. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Kale and Quinoa requires minimal effort but provides maximum satisfaction – it’s the perfect dinner or lunch option for someone looking for something extraordinary yet easy. If you’re ready to take your cooking up a notch, give Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Kale and Quinoa a try – you’ll be glad you did!

Ingredients:

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes

-2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

-1 onion, chopped

-3 cloves garlic, minced

-4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

-1 teaspoon ground cumin

-1 teaspoon paprika

-1 teaspoon dried thyme

-Salt and pepper to taste

-3 cups kale leaves removed from stems and coarsely chopped

-½ cup cooked quinoa (can be made ahead of time)  

Instructions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.   

3. Place the cubed butternut squash, carrots, onion, and garlic onto the baking sheet. Drizzle all of the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat.   Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.      

4. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  

5. Remove roasted vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool slightly while you prepare the soup base.    

6. Heat a stockpot over medium-high heat on the stovetop then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil followed by the cumin, paprika, and thyme stirring constantly for about 30 seconds to bring out the flavor of the spices.     

7. Add in cooled roasted vegetables followed by vegetable stock then season with salt and pepper as desired. Bring soup base to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are very tender when pierced with a knife or fork.    

8. Using an immersion blender (or carefully working in batches using a regular blender) blend soup until all ingredients have broken down completely creating a smooth texture (add additional stock if needed).     

9). Add in kale leaves while the soup is still hot so that they cook down slightly before adding cooked quinoa at step 10 below    

10). Once vegetables have been completely blended stir in cooked quinoa until the mixture is evenly combined then serve warm topped with extra kale if desired! Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and Lentils

Spaghetti squash is a delicious and nutritious vegetable to enjoy any time of year. It’s also an incredibly versatile ingredient, so why not take it up a notch with this delicious recipe? Start by cutting the spaghetti squash in half, scooping out the seeds, and baking it in an oven. While the squash is baking, prepare your sauce by gently sautéing tomatoes, garlic, and lentils with spices like cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Once they are all cooked together perfectly, combine them with the spaghetti squash pasta in a flavorful meal that looks as good as it tastes! Best of all, this dish takes minimal time and effort to make – yet provides you with plenty of nutrients for sustainable energy throughout your day. So why not give it a try tonight? You’ll never put off dinner preparation again!

Ingredients:

– 1 Spaghetti Squash

– 1 can of Diced Tomatoes

– ½ cup of Lentils

– 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced

– ½ teaspoon of Dried Oregano

– 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil, divided

– Salt and Pepper to taste 

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each squash half, season with salt and pepper, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes until it’s cooked through and tender when pierced with a fork or knife.

2. While the spaghetti squash is baking, prepare the tomato sauce by heating one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for one minute until fragrant. Then add in the canned diced tomatoes along with dried oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes until thickened slightly. Reduce heat to low and stir in lentils; cook for another 5 minutes until lentils are softened but not mushy. Turn off the heat and set aside while the squash finishes cooking.

3. Once the spaghetti squash is done cooking, use a fork to shred it into long strands resembling spaghetti noodles on top of each squash half (in both directions). Divide tomato sauce lentil mixture onto each half evenly then serve immediately while still hot! Enjoy!

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Enchiladas

When life gets busy and cooking feels like a chore, the perfect dish to lift your spirits can be found in Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Enchiladas. This easy-to-make delicacy features all the flavors of Mexico without being overly spicy; plus, it’s packed with plenty of nutritious ingredients to give you an extra boost throughout your day. The sweet potatoes provide a delicious contrast to the savory beans and corn, making for a filling yet flavorful meal that’s sure to become one of your go-to dinner staples. With this dish sitting in the oven, you’ll be feeling inspired in no time! Not only are Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Enchiladas delicious enough to rival any restaurant entrée — it also requires minimal effort in the kitchen, so you can have dinner on the table faster than ever. What’s more, its beautiful colors bring out the best in Mexican cuisine while still allowing for flexibility in terms of ingredients or spices. So what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and get started on making this delectable party-in-an-enchilada today!

Ingredients:

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-1 red onion, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1 teaspoon ground cumin

-½ teaspoon chili powder

-Salt and black pepper to taste

-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups)

-1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 

-1 cup frozen corn kernels

-8 whole wheat or gluten-free tortillas (flour or corn)

-2 cups enchilada sauce (store-bought or homemade) 

-½ cup shredded vegan cheese such as cheddar or Jack (optional)

Instructions:                                                

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.                                 

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Sauté for 3 minutes until fragrant and softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste then add the sweet potatoes. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.   3. Remove the lid from the pan after 10 minutes of cooking time has elapsed and add in the black beans and corn kernels stirring all ingredients together until everything is warmed through. Turn off the heat and set aside while you assemble your enchiladas.       

4. Take one tortilla at a time using tongs or a fork to keep it from tearing apart while filling it with a scoop of your sweet potato mixture across the middle of it in one line making sure that there is an equal amount of filling in each half of your tortilla so that you can roll it up easily without having too much filling on one side versus another side of your enchilada wrap/tortilla before rolling it up tightly around itself once all sides have been filled with sweet potato mixture evenly distributed throughout your entire wrap/tortilla. Secure each with toothpicks if necessary so that they do not unravel while baking in the oven later on during cook time given below shortly thereafter.         5. Place each filled wrap/tortilla seam side down in your greased 9×13 inch baking dish pouring the remaining enchilada sauce over top to cover all layers followed by sprinkling vegan shredded cheese over the top if desired but optional as well both steps prior, covering dish securely with aluminum foil before placing into preheated oven mentioned earlier up above when we were preheating oven itself.    

6. Bake covered for 20 minutes until hot throughout then remove the foil covering the baking dish followed by additional 5 minutes of cooking time uncovered to lightly brown. Allow enchiladas enough to cool down & rest momentarily before cutting & serving.

White Bean Chili

White bean chili is a hearty and delicious meal that can easily become a family favorite. This dish lends itself to easily adding your favorite vegetables and spices, allowing you to make every batch unique. The great thing about making this type of chili is that the beans provide plenty of flavor and texture on their own, but combining them with additional ingredients results in a dish even more flavorful than expected. For those interested in keeping the dish vegan-friendly, it is easy to do since it does not use any meat products. Chili is also extremely economical and tends to be a filling meal. What’s more, the ingredients are typically things most of us already have in our kitchen pantries, meaning we don’t need to go out shopping if we’re short on time. All these factors come together to make white bean chili an ideal weeknight dinner choice for any crowd!  Plus, leftovers heat up well in the microwave or can be used as part of a recipe for burritos or nachos for an entirely different meal the following day! Motivate yourself and your family by giving spicy white bean chili a try tonight!

Ingredients:

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 large onion, diced

– 4 cloves garlic, minced

– 2 teaspoons ground cumin

– 2 teaspoons chili powder

– Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

– 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes with juice

– 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth 

– 1 (15 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed

– ½ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

– 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

– ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions:         

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper; cook for another minute.                

2. Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juice along with the broth; raise the heat to bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes to allow all of the flavors to combine.               

3. Add in the white beans, corn kernels, and red bell pepper; simmer for an additional 10 minutes until all of the ingredients are heated through.             

4. Ladle into individual bowls; top each bowl with fresh chopped cilantro if desired before serving. Enjoy!

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Whether you’re a vegan looking to try something new or curious about plant-based alternatives, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is a great place to start. This classic recipe is surprisingly easy to make: simply mash up potatoes with dairy-free butter and spices, top it with sautéed vegetables in a savory vegan gravy, and bake until golden brown. Not only does this comfort food dish full of wholesome ingredients look beautiful when served but it also tastes good. The deep umami flavor of the gravy mingles perfectly with the creamy potato topping while the carrots, peas, and mushrooms bring texture and sweetness. With just a few simple ingredients and steps, anyone can make Vegan Shepherd’s Pie even if they don’t cook often. It may look intimidating but simply by following the recipe, even beginner cooks can whip up this tasty dish – no matter what your dietary preference is! There is no reason not to give this plant-based version of an old favorite a try. So why not roll up your sleeves and give Vegan Shepherd’s Pie a try? You’ll be surprised by how delicious it turns out!  You won’t regret giving this vegan twist on a classic Shepherd’s Pie recipe a go!

Ingredients:

– 2 tablespoons of vegan butter

– 2 cloves of garlic, minced

– 1 diced onion

– 3 cups of vegan crumbled sausage (such as Beyond Sausage or Gimme Lean Sausage)

– 2 celery stalks, diced

– 2 carrots, diced

– 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

– 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

– 3 cups of vegetable broth (or substitute with water)

– 1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels

– 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

– 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari 

– Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:

– 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed 

– 4 tablespoons vegan butter or olive oil

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Grease a 9×13” baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

2. Heat vegan butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until softened.

3. Add the vegan crumbled sausage and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes until lightly browned.

4. Add celery, carrots, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste; cook for about 5 more minutes until vegetables are tender but still firm.

5. Sprinkle in the flour and stir continuously for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Slowly pour in the vegetable broth while stirring constantly so that no lumps form; bring mixture to a gentle simmer for about 8 minutes until thickened slightly (mixture should not be too thick).

6. Stir in corn kernels, tomato paste, and soy sauce; simmer for an additional 5 minutes then remove from heat. Taste mixture and adjust seasonings if necessary; transfer to prepared baking dish spread out evenly into an even layer then set aside while preparing to top.

7. To prepare to top: Bring a pot of salted water up to a boil then add potatoes; reduce heat slightly so that water is just barely boiling then cook potatoes for 15 – 20 minutes or until fork tender but not falling apart (do not overcook). Drain potatoes through a sieve or colander then return them to the same pot they were boiled in; mash potatoes using either a potato masher or hand mixer adding 4 tablespoons of vegan butter or olive oil as you mash them into desired consistency then set aside while filling cools down slightly before topping with mashed potatoes (filling should be hot but not scalding hot when topped with mashed potatoes).

8. Spread into an even layer using a spoon or spatula if necessary; use a fork to create decorative peaks on top as desired then place the baking dish onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to catch any spills) before popping it into the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes until edges are bubbly golden brown (cover loosely with aluminum foil during last 10 – 15 minutes if needed). Allow shepherd’s pie to cool down completely before serving otherwise it will be too runny when served hot directly out of the oven – leftovers can be stored and covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days reheat portions as needed (best served warm not piping hot!).

Ratatouille

Cooks of all experience levels can find inspiration in the classic French dish, ratatouille. While it may take some finesse to perfectly blend its array of ingredients, the simplicity of the dish is part of its charm. Ratatouille consists primarily of items found in any kitchen pantry, such as olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs. Once assembled, it can be served either warm or cold to create a delicious summertime treat that’s perfect for impressing dinner guests! With just a few easy steps and the right ingredients, you can make your version of this classic dish. Ratatouille not only brings joy to all who partake in it but also serves as an affirmation that great food does not require hours of prep time or fancy appliances. So get creative and see what flavors you come up with — after all, ratatouille is as much about experimentation as it is about presentation!

Ingredients:

• 2 large eggplants

• 2 medium-sized zucchinis

• 4 bell peppers (2 red and 2 green)

• 2 yellow onions

• 6 cloves of garlic

• 6 ripe Roma tomatoes

• 1/4 cup of olive oil

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Optional: fresh herbs such as basil or oregano 

Dice eggplants into small cubes. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Cut each bell pepper in half and then remove the seeds before slicing them into thin strips. Peel and dice the onions and mince the garlic cloves before setting aside all ingredients separately on cutting boards or in individual bowls.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat before adding about ¼ cup of olive oil – enough to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. When hot, add in all diced vegetables at once – eggplant cubes, sliced zucchini, bell pepper strips, diced onion, and minced garlic. Stir occasionally until all vegetables are tender and lightly browned; approximately 10 minutes total cooking time should suffice. Finally, add diced tomatoes along with salt and pepper (and any fresh herbs). Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes until everything is cooked through and heated evenly. Remove from heat when done and let cool slightly before serving warm or at room temperature as desired! Enjoy your homemade Ratatouille dish!

Delicious and nutritious vegan recipes to try this winter, give these a go! They’re all hearty and filling but still packed with vitamins and minerals to help keep your immune system strong during cold and flu season.  Please note that these are merely suggestions. Go ahead and add your preferred seasonings, switch out to vegetables you like, Do you! 

CHRISTIAN BOOKS TO READ THIS YEAR

Dear Reader: 

Christian books are a great way to grow in faith and learn more about God. If you want to start reading Christian books this year, here are some of the best ones that you should read.

– “The Shack” by William P. Young: This is one of the most popular Christian books that is loved by all Christians around the world. The book has sold over 15 million copies and has been translated into 50 languages. It tells a story about Mackenzie Allen Phillips who receives a letter from God inviting him to visit him at his home in the woods.

– “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel: This is one of the most compelling testimonies of faith ever published, which will make any skeptic think again about what they believe in and why they believe it. The book follows an investigative journalist as he sets out on a journey to disprove Christianity only to discover some amazing truths that point towards Jesus Christ being who he claimed he was – the Son of

-“The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian. It has been translated into more than 26 languages and sold more than 10 million copies.The book is about how a mother’s prayers can change her children’s lives, and it shows parents how to pray for their children in every area of their lives.

-“How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This book teaches parents how to communicate with kids through empathy, negotiation, and mutual problem solving in order to solve conflicts without yelling or punishment.

– “Women Evolve: Break up with Your Fears and Revolutionize your Life” by Sarah Jakes Roberts. This book is a spirit filled memoir reminding us that your path in life doesn’t change but evolves and God’s purpose for your life remains. 

– “Wholehearted Faith” by Rachel Evans This book discusses the importance of not being too hard on oneself when choosing to make a significant life changes.

– “Don’t Settle for Safe” by Sarah Jakes Roberts is a bold and often humorous call to action for believers to live full lives, free of fear.

– “You are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You” Jess Connelly is a love letter to all young women who ever felt their dreams were too big. It shares how she overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles, insecurities, and roadblocks to become a leading voice in a generation.

– “The Word Before Work” by Jordan Raynor is a devotional helping remind us to surrender our plans and lives to God.

– “Liturgy of the Ordinary” by Tish Warren is an invitation to live a more meaningful life by recognizing and nurturing the sacred moments in our lives.

– “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in Secular World” by Henri Nouwen is Henri Nouwen’s spiritual autobiography focuses on the struggles he faced in his life and how he lived out the gospel. He discusses his upbringing, education, and early years as a priest. In this book, Nouwen describes how human beings are called to live in love, hope and faith despite the difficulties of life.

AND BY THE WAY IS where the name of this blog started. 

HABITS IN THE BIBLE

woman hands raised towards heaven

Dear Reader, 

The Bible is a compilation of 66 books written by 40 different authors over a span of about 1600 years. I know, right?!

The Bible is not just a book, it’s an entire library. It’s full of stories, histories, and instructions for living. The Bible has been translated into more than 1075 languages and dialects and has sold over 5 billion copies. Amazing!

It can be difficult to read the bible from start to finish because it was never intended to be read that way. Stop doing that! You need to study the bible in order to get the most out of it; this means reading it in context with other parts of the bible and in chronological order as much as possible.

The Bible is a book with many words that can teach us many lessons. One of the lessons it teaches us is the importance of habits. Even though the bible does not directly mention habits, it does contain lessons about them: both good and bad. The following are stories in the bible that can tell us about how good habits can lead to great results in life.

DAVID AND GOLIATH

This lesson is taught through the story of David and Goliath. David is a shepherd boy who has never fought in battle before, but he has a strong faith in God and he takes on Goliath with nothing but his sling and five stones. He defeats Goliath because he has practiced his slingshot skills so often that it becomes second nature to him to hit his target every time.

The Bible teaches us that if we want to be successful then we must have good habits, as David did with his slingshot skills so that they become second nature and easy for us to do them without any effort at all.

ESTHER

Esther was a stranger in a strange land. She was taken from her home and had to keep her heritage a secret. In spite of it all, she kept up with her Jewish faith and practices. She still prayed to the God of Abraham. When she heard that her people would be slaughtered, she took that fight up with her God and relied on God’s word. She then took it up with her earthly master, the king. He was so taken by her honor and her beauty that he let the lapse in procedure go and gave her what she wanted. Her habit of prayer and keeping God first never wavered. She even became the queen of Persia, how’s that for God’s faithfulness!

DANIEL

The story in God’s word goes that Daniel prayed every single day with his windows open toward Jerusalem. People knew that and so they tried to set him up. His faith in God was tested when there was a law passed to stop everyone from praying to anyone, not the king. Daniel did it anyways. Daniel could’ve at least shut his window; he did not. He had the habit of praying to face Jerusalem and openly. He did not change it, not even for the law.

JESUS CHRIST

Jesus had a habit of going away and praying. He would isolate himself and talk to His Father. He would go to caves, to mountains, to hide under the boat, etc. This was a practice that would’ve frustrated me as a disciple. Can’t you see all these people need help? Why do you need to go away right now? Stay with us!

Jesus knew what he was doing. This habit was because he knew he could not continue to pour from an empty cup. He was working on himself so that he could have more to give to others. This awareness drew him nearer to the Father and improved his life and the lives of others around him. Let us also get that habit of going away to talk alone with God.

HABITS IN THE BIBLE

Habits are not mentioned in the Bible per se. However, there are mentions of things we should not do that can be characterized as bad habits. It says not to be overly drunk with wine. It admonishes us about continual grumbling and complaining. These are habits that God wants us to strive to rid ourselves of. Therefore, habits both good and bad habits make an appearance in the bible.

Good Habits to Cultivate

  1. Daily Prayer and Bible Reading. This is the bread and water of those who walk with God and read God’s words.
  2. Daily Silence. This is where we pause and reflect on what God wants from us today.
  3. Good Nutrition. This habit helps us to continue to engage with God and his people on this earth.
  4. Movement of the body God has entrusted us. This habit will keep us on this earth as His Example.
  5. Sunlight. This might be hard in the winter, but God created us to thrive in natural light. He wants us to have abundant health.
  6. Journaling. Reflection, especially on God’s word will make you grow strong in God.

 CONCLUSION
These habits are not exhaustive, but they are a good place to start in trying to grow in the Lord and spiritual disciplines. It is good to follow God’s word and have good habits. Keep the faith and get to work. Faith without works is dead. What other habits would you add to this list? What habits would you like to share with others that would help them too?