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Alesha Sinks

Friend of God by Alesha Sinks

friend of god.jpg

There is a line in the Read and Share Bible for Children that says, “As David watched the sheep, he became close friends with God.”

This wording, although not at all a quote from the Bible, struck me profoundly, because it puts so simply what the Bible shows us about David.

He became a faithful follower of God in obscurity, long before he was chosen to be king.

You see, David was the youngest of eight sons. In importance, practically and legally, he had a very small role in his family. So much so that his father did not even call him in from the fields when the prophet Samuel asked to see his sons.

You can read this story in 1 Samuel 17. Here is a piece of it.

"The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons….And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.”
1 Samuel 17:1, 10-13

The first two times we are introduced to David, both in the verses above and later on in this chapter, he was tending the sheep. This was his normal role. It was what he did. His job.

And it was nothing special.
In fact, it was one of the most lowly jobs he could be given.

So often the most day to day parts of our lives feel the same way: nothing special, mundane, even a waste of time or talent or opportunity.

Yet we know from scripture, that when David was anointed king he was already a skillful musician and strong warrior, all skills he developed while simply tending sheep in the desert. And we also know that David’s heart was like God’s. Surely this closeness with God was also developed during days and weeks and even years of time spent, quiet and alone and unnoticed, with his father’s sheep.

In the verses from 1 Samuel 17 that I shared above, I skipped over one important verse that shows the heart of God when He chose David to be the next king of Israel. Samuel was looking at the oldest son of Jesse and assuming that he was the one God had chosen to take over the throne from Saul. But God spoke to Samuel saying,

”...'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’”
1 Samuel 17:7

And it is easy to assume from what we see of David’s growth and character in the Bible, that if God had never chosen him out of the the wilderness, out of his role as a shepherd, he would have continued to grow in his character and love for God all the same. David didn’t serve God or seek Him so that he would be noticed, but simply because David loved Him.

David chose to seek God and draw near to Him, not once crowds knew his name, not once he was chosen as the next king, not even while he was running for life, but in the obscure, daily life of a shepherd. A life he probably assumed would always be his.

And that relationship with God is what He was able to build on during the good times, what kept him grounded during the praise, what was his comfort and anchor during the years he was afraid for his life, what enabled him to turn to God in repentance when he sinned greatly, and what enabled him to be chosen for the role of king.

The times of public praise or great responsibility or even great trial are not the times we wait for to build a strong relationship with God. The best time to do that is now.
In the small times of life.
In the quiet times of life.
In the unknown times of life.
In the monotonous times of life.
In the normal times of life.

That simple line from a children’s bible triggered so much hope and joy and freedom in my heart.

“As David watched the sheep, he became close friends with God.”

What sheep are in your field?
What job do you get up to do daily?
What obscure or small place has God called you to work in?
Where are you every day?
Who are you with?
What is the role you have been given?
What is the most normal space of your life?

Even if that role is as humble and as out-of-the-way and as plain normal as David’s, you and I can become a friend of God in and through it. Your role, the life you live, the work you do, the family you are a part of, is the perfect place for you to grow close to God.
To get to know Him.
To serve Him.
To obey Him.
To love Him.

Most of us won’t get called "out of the field" or "away from the sheep" to become a king or even any other sort of public figure. But the prize for David was not the kingdom. It wasn’t the throne or the riches or the people knowing his name and singing his praise.

The prize was God. The prize was the intimacy he had with his Maker and the ability for his life to be used by God.

You can be sure that we serve a God great enough to use David’s life just as fully and to love him just as deeply in the wilderness as he did in the palace.

This gives me so much joy and hope. As a stay at home mom, I can become a close friend of God. I don't have to be special or chosen or important or noticed to become close to God, to know Him well.

In Jesus, we have already been made friends of God. Let’s live it. Let’s choose to live into the position we have already been given in Jesus.

"You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:14-15

Let’s use the place God already has given us to become close friends of God. Let’s live in the fields of our homes and our workplaces, just as David did in the literal fields with his father’s sheep, in such a way that we to get to know God. To love Him. To be His friend.

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What Every Marriage Needs by Alesha Sinks

what every marriage needs.jpg

Off and on throughout my childhood, my mom would institute various Bible memory challenges. Often she would pick verses specifically for each child to memorize or allow us to pick our own verses, but there were a few standard verses every one of us had to memorize at some point.

One of them was Philippians 2:3-4.

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

I can still say this verse from memory today. As a child, I knew my mother wanted us to memorize this verse as a reminder for how we should view family life, as a reminder for how eight people living together could have a happy, peaceful life.

Now as an adult I see it’s application in every area of life, but most particularly, I still come face to face with my own selfishness most often in my own marriage.

There is a quote that, although perhaps slightly overused, always confronts my sense of entitlement and fairness within my marriage…

"Marriage is not 50-50. Divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It isn't dividing everything in half, but giving everything you've got!”
Dave Willis

Most of the struggles I experience within my marriage come from me trying to compare myself to my husband. I’ve found that this, without fail, leads to one of two places: feeling superior to my husband and bitter toward him for not helping more, or feeling completely inferior to him and desperately striving to “make it up to him” or “be better for him”.

A closer look, reveals that both of these things are warned against in Philippians 2:3-4. When I feel superior to my husband, I am walking in “conceit”, and when I and striving to make up for my lacking, to impress him, and to be as capable, hardworking, or sacrificial as he is, I find myself working from “selfish ambition”. This is selfishness, because the root of my striving is a desire to measure up. I don’t want to be outdone or humbled.

To be honest, my pride usually blinds me to my husbands work and sacrifice for our family and drops me into the first category. However, neither of these outcomes leaves me, or our marriage, in a healthy, happy place.

So what does Philippians tell me to do instead?

“ humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Rather than measuring myself against my husband or measuring him against me, both selfish in nature, I am to look at him and his needs as more significant that mine. I am called to lay aside my needs and instead focus on the needs of others.

Just writing those words is painful to my sense of self and all sorts of caveats are instantly flying through my mind. While yes, we cannot serve others well if we do not also take care of our own spiritual and physical needs, the fact still remains that God has called us to put others ahead of ourselves.

(Keep in mind that this verse is for all Christians and I’m simply applying it to my role as a wife.)

As if we need further convincing, Paul goes on in the next few verses to play the ultimate trump card.

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:5-11

Paul tells us that we should live humbly, putting others before ourselves, because that is what Jesus did.

Ephesians 5:1-2 emphasizes this point again.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We are called to imitate God, and one part of imitating Him that we so often overlook is humility. Jesus humbled Himself in so many ways through coming to this earth to rescue us from our sin. He laid aside all the glory of God in order to identify with us, to serve us, and to die for us.

The sense of righteous pride and indignation that I so often harbor in marriage feels completely foolish when compared to all that Jesus has given for me.

These verses from Philippians orient us to a new way of living, to a new way of walking through life with our spouse. This kind of marriage is focused on loving, serving and sacrificing for our spouse without keeping any list or tally for comparison. This kind of marriage serves our spouse from a place of love and humility, not give-and-take expectation. This kind of marriage doesn’t stop to worry about how our spouse feels about us or if they think we are doing enough, giving enough, or being enough. This kind of marriage doesn’t stop to wonder if our spouse is doing, being or giving enough to us either.

This kind of marriage is only found and sustained by repeatedly coming to the foot of the cross and reminding ourselves of all that Jesus first did for us, and letting His Spirit move us to greater humility and service from love.

When a couple walks together in this kind of humility and service toward one another, it is a beautiful thing. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is some sort of marriage level to be achieved. This way of living, that is so contrary to both our culture and our fallen nature, is something we will have to work toward every day of our lives.

This Philippians 2:3-4 way of living is only possible when we are continually seeking Jesus and humbling ourselves first before Him. It is never a state of being that we will perfectly arrive at, but rather a path to continually walk on and reorient ourselves to. It is a path of continual communion with and surrender to Jesus. A marriage built on this foundation it will be filled with all the blessings, joy, love, and holiness that God intended.


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I Am Seen by Alesha Sinks

We sat in a the living room, scattered on couches and kitchen chairs and higher up counter stools, worshipping. As the last notes of the song hung on, our pastor invited us to worship God by proclaiming His name.

In the stillness that followed, His Names rang out from different lips.

Mighty to Save
The Lamb Who Was Slain
God With Us
Wonderful Counselor

One name jumped out at me, and I think it did the same for many others, because a murmur of worship and agreement ran through the room.

The God Who Sees Me

It was as if a breath of air that had been held inside me for too long rushed out all at once.

The God Who Sees Me
The God Who Sees Me
The God Who Sees Me

He sees me. He sees my heart. He sees my struggles and my pain. He sees my joy and my passion. He sees my desires and my longings. He sees my light and my darkness. He sees my mind and the battles fought within it.

He sees me.


And isn’t that the very deepest longing and desire of my heart? Isn’t that the thing that drives much of my stress and anxiety? Isn’t that the thing that informs so many of my choices and actions? The desire to be fully and completely known and understood. To simultaneously be completely known and completely accepted.

Isn’t that what I am constantly working toward in my marriage and in my friendships, and yet is always illusively out of grasp?

Because as humans, for all our trying, we will never be able to fully and perfectly comprehend every aspect of another person. We can never be perfectly known and comprehended because we don’t even know and understand our own selves well enough to help another understand us completely.

But God.

But God is not another human. He is not equal to us in understanding of ourselves. He is beyond that. He is our creator.


He fashioned us with purpose and uniqueness and intention and beauty, and sometimes it seems as though our whole lives are taken up with uncovering that how that purpose is to be lived out in the practicality of the day-to-day.

I looked up this name of God today.

El Roi - The God Who Sees Me

And I found that this name for God is only used once in the Bible. It was used by Hagar, Sarai’s maidservant, when she ran away.

God saw her in her affliction from Sarai. He saw her in her hardness of heart toward Sarai. He saw her in her desperation. He saw her in her humanity.

And He didn’t give her an easy out. He told her to go back, to go back to her harsh mistress and submit. He told her to go back, knowing that much later she would be sent away. He told her to go back her place of shame and mistreatment. He told her to go back to slavery and servitude.


And her response was this.

"So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.’”

Genesis 13:16

She did not even know His name, but she knew that He had seen her. That He had deeply seen and understood her. Something in her brief interaction with God convinced her to obey. Convinced her that He was good. Convinced her that she was deeply seen and understood. Convinced her that she was protected.

And she obeyed.

She went back to the place of her hurt. She went back to the place of her disgrace. She went back to the place that would require her ultimate submission and sacrifice.

She went back because she knew that He saw her. He knew her. He heard her. He loved her. He was looking after her.

What places would I go unafraid if I realized how deeply He knows me?
How fully He sees me?
How faithfully He hears me?
How wholly He looks after me?
How completely He loves me?


I want to let that truth sit deeply in me. I want it to push into the deep places of my heart and mind. I want it reshape my heart and my actions. I want it to inform my every thought and desire.

I want to live from the understanding that He is The God Who Sees Me.

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A Surprising Family by Alesha Sinks

I remember having some friends growing up who always felt more like family. You couldn’t enter their home without being drawn in and made to feel like you were a part of them, a part of their family.

And I think that is how the church is supposed to be.

When we come together as the body of Christ, when we come open and willing to see what God will do, when we come accepting and praying and seeking instead of judging and comparing, there is a special thing that happens. We become family.
We become the body of Christ.

When we commit to following Jesus and commit to being a part of His church, to walking out the days of our lives with the members of His church that He has called us to be with, we will see ourselves knit together in love. One of the most profoundly supernatural things I have witnessed is a group of very different people who are knit together in love through Jesus.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ….For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
1 Corinthians 12:12;14

We are the body of Christ. The church, knit together by love, is the body of Christ. We are the body of Christ.

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:27

This is the great mystery of the church. God builds His church and bonds it together with a love that is surprising and cannot be explained any other way than through Him. Sometimes I look around at my church family, and find myself in awe. Who could ever script this combination of lives lived together and call it beautiful? And I know that the answer is, “Only Jesus. And He has made it is beautiful."

Without Jesus, we can form groups and societies and programs that are unique and interesting, but we will never become the family of love that Jesus can make us. He can take people with almost nothing in common but Him and bind them together with love so strong that it is astounding. He can take our unique gifts and personalities and talents and perspectives and knit them together into a body that can function and serve each other and the world for His glory.

Only Jesus can take people so different, so varied, so incompatible and make them a family that is characterized first and foremost by love.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

I look around our little church some Sundays to see so many faces I feircly love, and yet if I step back just half an inch from my own inside perspective it looks so strange. Nothing about my background or personality or birthplace on the planet points to these people being the ones I call family. But as I’ve showed up week after week, year after year, pouring my heart and time into these people, Jesus has knit my heart so tightly to their’s in love. His love.

He builds His church through a million impossible combinations and binds us together through the bond of love. It is His gift to His church if we allow Him to work it in us.

If we allow Him to knit us together, He will. He will take the most diverse combinations of people and bind our hearts together, creating us into His church. Creating us into an imperfect bride through which He can display His love for the world.

He takes our unique backgrounds and beliefs and talents and gifts and turns them into a body, functioning as one, for one purpose. That purpose is His glory and praise.

Because of that purpose, this beautiful family is intended to constantly welcome and grow, to pull in and envelop anyone who will come close, just like that family I knew as a child. We the church are intended to become a tight knit family who will embrace as family every new member whom God brings.

But for every joy of love and bond of family, there will be equal pain and hurt and sorrow. But it will be worth it. It will be worth it in the moments you get to raise your eyes and see your family, all broken and mismatched and messy, worshiping together and loving each other in a way that can only be explained by pointing to Jesus.

God builds His church and bonds it together with a love that is surprising and cannot be explained any other way than through Him.

We are the Church of Jesus.
We are family.
We are the body of Christ.
We are the bride in preparation for her Groom.
We are gifted love and unity by Him; let’s seek Him and press into the family He has given us.

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Set A Goal To See Jesus by Alesha Sinks

It’s a New Year and perhaps you, like many, have set a Bible reading goal. And maybe, I’m not alone in finding this to be a daunting task. Or maybe, you’ve never even thought about the fact that there may be more than one way to go about this.

It sometimes seems like every “really spiritual” Christian sets a goal to read through the whole Bible in a year, and that anything less than that is a failure.

There are so many ways to approach your Bible reading goals, and yet we so often focus on just this one: reading the whole Bible in a year.

However, I’ve had several years of Bible reading where I haven’t come even close to reading the whole Bible, and yet, I have grown in profound ways in my understanding of and love for God and His Word.

This, I believe, is the fundamental shift that needs to take place in our approach to our Bible reading goals. The purpose of reading our Bible is not to consume as much as possible as quickly as possible, or even to achieve the “gold-standard” of reading the whole Bible in one year.

The purpose of Bible reading is to better understand who God is, and to know His Son, Jesus.

Jesus Himself said, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me."
John 5:39

Ultimately, when we learn more about Jesus, when we better understand who He is and how much He loves us, we begin to love Him more. And when we fall more in love with God, when we stand in greater awe and gratitude for what He has done for us and for who He is, then we will desire and begin to become more like Him our daily living.

Goals and plans can surely help us, but we will ultimately fail at Bible reading if we fail to love God more as a result of it.

Knowing this, that the goal of our studying God's word is to first fall more in love with Jesus and then to become more like Him, it should be with great eagerness that we take on the lifelong journey of growing in our knowledge and understanding of Him and His Word. Granted, we are human and any growth will often feel difficult and painful, but it is so worth the work.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed by New Years resolutions to "read the Bible more", let's set our hearts to fall more in love with Jesus and plan a path of studying and growing in God's Word that will help us to do just that.

To help you as desire to grow in your understanding of God’s Word, I want to share a few of my favorite approaches to reading God’s Word:

1. Set a goal to become more familiar with the Bible as a whole.

Become comfortable with the layout and sections and flow of it as a whole. Usually the best way to approach this is to read the Bible through rather quickly, in a year or so.

My favorite way to do this is by using a reading plan. I like plans like this one, where you read a little bit from the Old Testament, a little bit from the New Testament, and a little bit from the book of Psalms each day. However, other good approaches are chronological reading plans or taking the Bible one book at a time, in any order you choose, and checking each book off until you have read the whole thing.

However you do it, reading the Bible all the way through (in a year or two) is one of my favorite ways to approach God’s Word. You will gain such an appreciation for the consistency shown by God through His Word, and will develop a broader understanding of the biblical timeline as you do.

2. Set a goal to dig deep into a specific book of the Bible.

This is a great way to use your inductive bible study skills, which Pastor Travis taught in a previous blog series: Part 1 - Part 2. Additionally, this is a wonderful way to study along with the Sunday morning sermons series or our 3-minute message series.

Pull out a notebook or journal and some study helps, and take it really slow, a chapter, or just a section of a chapter, at a time. Maybe even copy the entire section into your journal to help you slow down and really listen to every phrase.

3. Set a goal to study a specific Biblical topic.

There are so many reading plans available to help you with this and you can easily find lists of scripture by topic online. Or you can purchase a more traditional Bible study book on the topic you want to study, and use that to guide you. As always, you can find hundreds of sermons online to supplement your Bible reading and help you gain even more insight into a particular topic. Here a few good preachers to start with, when looking for sermons on specific passages or topics.

4. Set a goal to memorize and meditate on key sections of scripture so that you can quickly call to mind encouragement and wisdom and reminders of grace.

This kind of goal works really well in conjunction with the topical Bible study or even study of a specific book, discussed above. Pick a key verse(s) or section and spend a little time every day memorizing and pondering that passage. This way, you will always have that section to remind you of the things you learned during your study.

Whether you are memorizing a passage or not, going slowly and prayerfully through the same section over and over again is a wonderful way to help the truths of God’s Word sink deep into your heart and begin to transform your mind.

There are so many ways to study God’s Word, and none is better or more spiritual than the other. In fact, applying a wide variety of bible study techniques throughout your life will actually help you grow in your understanding of God’s Word.

Plans and systems and goals are wonderful things, but if we loose sight of their purpose, helping us to know and love Jesus more, then they become worthless pursuits. So as we seek to know and love Jesus more fully, let’s remember that this is something He has called us to and has given us the ability to do through Jesus.

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence”
2 Peter 1:3

He has given us everything we need to fulfill what He has called us to do for His glory in this life, and He has given it to us through knowing Him. Yet how do we learn to know Him more? Though His Word and His Spirit.

I pray that this year would be one of growth and maturity for you in the area of knowing God through His Word.

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The Simplicity of Loving Our Neighbors by Alesha Sinks

There is a simple command in the Bible that I overlook so often.

"Love your neighbor as yourself."
Mark 12:31

And when I do take the time to notice it, I often get boggged down in the how and why. I over-complicate it. Recently, I saw this verse practically lived out for me in the most ordinary and yet most powerful of ways.

On an ordinary and slightly overwhelming Tuesday morning several weeks ago, I was preparing for the possibility of hurricane Matthew and toting around a baby-almost-turned-toddler who didn't want to sit in the shopping cart one second longer. As I hurried through the parking lot pushing a cart full of giant diaper boxes with one hand and holding my little one with the other, I heard a someone shout at me.


I turned to see a women I had never met before sprinting across the parking lot toward me. She pushed my cart to the car and lifted those giant boxes into the back seat of my car with a smile. I didn't ask her to. She just saw a need and helped.

I was stunned.
I was overwhelmed by her kindness.

I saw so clearly in that moment the power of practical love.

I don't know that woman. I never found out her name. But I watched her load my groceries and smile at my toddler and love me with her actions. I still tear up thinking about it.

It's so easy for me to get caught in the lie that love must be grandious to make a difference. We think that we have to do something difficult or expensive or time-consuming or "original" in order to love our neighbors.

But I believe the love we are commanded to show our neighbors is so much simpler than we think.

It looks like needs spotted and met.
It looks like a willing listening ear.
It looks like opening the door.
It looks like a text to say, "I'm praying."
It looks like five dollar flowers on a doorstep.
It looks like a hug and a smile.
It looks like unloading a strangers groceries.
It looks like noticing and responding to simple needs that God places in our path.

I remember my college years pastor talking about this verse...

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:10

He shared a story about helping someone pick up something they had dropped. It was just a few steps and a few moments of his time, but he said, "I believe this was a good work God had prepared for me."

What weight of glory does this lay on our everyday moments when we realize that God has prepared in advance good works for us!

As the woman I never really met graciously loaded diapers into my car, I realized again the power that one simple act of kindness can have. Often our acts of love and service toward people who very literally cross our paths each day won't turn into opportunities to share why we are doing this. But I believe that whether an opportunity for deeper conversation arises or not, God is glorified when we walk in the good works He has prepared for us.

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Perspective Reset (Psalm 16) by Alesha Sinks



In Psalm 16, David reflects on the joy that comes from obeying God.

Some days, I need this reminder. I need to remember that there are blessings that come from obeying God. I need to remind myself of the peace and faith that comes when I seek God and serve Him daily. I need to remind myself of the blessings that God promises to those who seek Him. But seeking and obeying God doesn’t happen on accident.

I’m struck by the intentionally David shows in this chapter. David is actively pursuing God, and his life is reaping the benefits. He talks about intentionally taking refuge in God (v 1), not turning to anything else to satisfy him (v 4), choosing God as His portion (v 5), and setting the Lord before him (v 8).

These things are hard and take purpose, discipline and intention.

And it forces me to pause and consider my own life.

Do I actively pursue God?

Do I design my life in such a way that I am regularly placing myself in a place of seeking and hearing from God?

Do I see the blessings and fruit in my life that David speaks of in this Psalm?

But in case we think that our goal in obeying God is simply to earn material blessings, David starts the chapter reminding us that God Himself is the reward.

"I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” (v 2)

So often, this is the heart check I need. I approach God to get good things, forgetting that the best thing I could ever have is relationship with God Himself. And in Jesus, I have access to that!

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (v 11)

The blessings that come from obeying God aren’t always prosperity or health or good relationships. God is good and often He will abundantly bless our lives in that way, but the ultimate gift He gives us when we obey is intimacy with Him.

Conversely, when we are not obeying Him, when we are not following the path He has laid out for us, that intimacy with God is broken and our lives will reflect it.

{Verse to Meditate On Today}

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11

{Take some time to pray and ask God to teach you to find your ultimate delight in Him and His presence. Then take time to sit before Him and rejoice in knowing Him and being known by Him.} 

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Being Centered In God's Word Every Day by Alesha Sinks

Being Centered In God's Word.jpg

It’s the beginning of a new school year. Although I am not in school anymore and I don’t yet have kids in school, I still crave the new and steady rhythms that fall brings.

I love the fresh and free of summer, but by the end of it I’m feeling the need for stability and normality again.

But there’s one way I steady my heart and mind no matter the season of life: consistently reading God’s Word.

No matter the season of life, crazy or calm, scheduled or sporadic, fast or slow, I’ve learned that I can be centered and grounded and steadied in Jesus. The best way for me to do that is through spending time in His Word.

Whether you love to read or hate it…
Whether you crave routine or defy it...
Whether you have a family or are by yourself...
Whether you work or stay home...
Whether you are far too busy or far too bored...
Whether you know the Bible very well or feel overwhelmed just thinking about it...

Regularly reading God’s Word is essential.

I’ve found that the craziest seasons of my life are the times that I most need to be studying the Bible. And no matter how smoothly my life is going, I notice that I am less joyful and peaceful when I fail to spend time in God’s Word even for one day. This is because the Bible is meant to point us to Jesus and draw us into relationship with Him.

The Bible is the number one way that God speaks to us, because it is His actual word, written down for us to read.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Bible is a help and resource in resisting temptation. Even Jesus quoted scripture when Satan tempted Him in the desert.

"But he (Jesus) answered, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’”
Matthew 4:4

The Bible teaches the truth about God, ourselves, and this world which gives us true hope and joy in this life.

"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4

The Bible is the living word of God and He will use it to speak to us, to convict us, to encourage us, and to grow us.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12

The Bible points us to Jesus, and seeing Jesus more clearly will always lead us to worship.

"Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
Psalm 119:164-165

But even when I know how essential God's Word is to my joy, peace, and walk with Him, I still struggle at times to actually do it. It's so easy to get this screwed up notion in your head of what reading the Bible is supposed to look like.

We think it has to be 2 chapters every day and we have to get up at 5:30 in the morning in order to do it. Or we think we have to sit in perfect peace and stillness with a journal and pen ready to record great insights that we find. Or we think we need to be reading in three different parts of the Bible at once in order for it to "really count".

However, all these ideals and restrictions that we place on our Bible reading simply keeps us from the most important part… actually doing it.

Here are seven practical ways I've found to keep my heart centered in God's Word every day:

Listen to Sermons

This is particularly helpful if you have trouble understanding God's Word when you read it on your own or if you have extra time while exercising, driving, or even cleaning the house. You can listen to the Redemption Church sermon recordings each week through our podcast. This helps you stay connected and encouraged if you miss a Sunday or are serving in Kids Ministry or simply want to re-listen to the message in order to dig in a little deeper.

Beyond just our church, there are so many other great Bible teachers out there who have their weekly sermons online for free. On our the Redemption Church resources page you can find links to the podcasts of some wonderful godly teachers who love Jesus and his Word.

Listen to the Bible Read Aloud

You can download some wonderful Bible apps to your smart phone, like the YouVersion app, that will read the Bible aloud to you. Sometimes I even read along while it is being read to me to help it sink in a little more.

Memorize Bible Verses

What better way to focus your heart on God than to recite His Word that you have memorized? In those stressful or busy moments where you might not be able to sit down and open your Bible, you can call it to mind instantly and be encouraged and built up in Jesus.

Watch Bible Teaching Videos

This summer Pastor Daniel made 2-minute videos that share a snippet of truth for us from our study through the gospel of John as a church. Many times I've found myself coming back to that bit of truth from the Bible over and over throughout the day.

Read the Bible with Others

If you are struggling to stay consistent or perhaps struggling to know what to read, joining a group is a great help. It can keep you accountable to actually read every day and give you a starting point for talking about God's Word with your friends. This summer we read through the Gospel of John together as Pastor Daniel teaching on conversations Jesus had, as recorded in that book for us.

Journal as You Read the Bible

Keeping a journal is a great way to help you learn from God's Word as you read. There are so many ways to do this, ranging from simply copying scripture to writing outlines to journaling prayers that correspond to what you read. However you journal, it is a great way to dig deeper into God's Word.

Simply Open the Bible

Keep your Bible (or your Bible app) nearby and just open it when you have a spare minute or two or twenty. There is no substitute for opening God's Word, reading it, and asking Him to speak. Start in Genesis and read straight through, or pick a gospel and dive in there.

Even in seasons where I've struggled to understand God's Word or to hear from Him, I have never regretted the time I've spent reading the Bible.

I pray that these tips and encouragements to get into the Bible are helpful to you and that together we can seek Jesus through His Word. I know we will be blessed because of it.

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Forward and More by Alesha Sinks

I’ve noticed a pattern in my heart and in my prayers.

A reaching back.

A trying to recapture the past.

A spiritual discontent that glamorizes the past.

That time when I was reading God’s Word everyday.

Those months where I prayed faithfully every morning.

The season when I read God’s Word in little chunks all day.

That point in time when I was always singing and worshiping.

Those times when it was better…when I was better.

And over again I find myself reaching into the past to shame my present. Whatever I’m doing now to seek God and know Him, isn’t good enough, because I could be, should be, doing this too and that as well…after all, I did them then.

But in the midst of one of these self-deprecating internal monologs, I realized…


I don’t want to go back to those days. Because in those days I was immature in that one way and God hadn’t yet started working on me in that other way and I was so naive in those areas too...


And I shouldn’t want to go backwards spiritually! Because however glorious that time and season was, however rich my devotional or prayer life, God has grown me so much since then.

I don’t want to go back to that season, I want to go forward into a new season. 


I want to go forward into the new seasons and times God has for me.

I want to grow more in my discipline to seek relationship with God.

I want to go forward with God.

I want more of God's Spirit in me.

I want to strain ahead into the things God has for me, deepening my love for Him as I go. 

I don't want to go back to how things were, I want to to go forward into more. I want to go forward into deeper with God. I want to go forward into new and settled and deeper and higher and hard and good.

Because if moving into the future is not drawing me closer to God, is not drawing me deeper into relationship with Him, and is not pushing me forward in serving and loving His people, then something is seriously wrong.

I want the days and years of my life to add up to growth and forward motion. But that will never happen if I spend my time pining for the past.

I want to go forward in my walk with God. I want more of Him working and in through me. And that will never be found by reaching back.

So I'm learning to be thankful for what has passed in my life, to learn from it, the good and the bad, and yet to point my eyes and heart forward. 


Be blessed.

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Knowing Jesus by Alesha Sinks

"Knowing You, Jesus, there is no greater thing”

I’ve been looking through my life and noticing all the little things that I make more important than Jesus Himself.


And the cruelest realization comes when I remember that all these things are good gifts from God meant to bless me...meant to be used to make much of Him.

Yet, I've taken these gifts and blessings and callings and ministries and made them the main point. I’ve taken the means and made it the goal.

All these things...

That list just above...

All these things are the means to knowing and loving Jesus more. They are a means to making Jesus known and glorified. They are a means to hearing His voice and seeing His face. They are the means to a goal, and that goal is to know and love and glorify Him.


And the means are meaningless if not done in pursuit of a goal. The means are meaningless if I try to make them the goal itself. All these lovely and beautiful and generous gifts from God will become tainted and pointless and unfulfilling if I try to make them more than they are...

The stuff of my life is a wonderful gift from a God who is seeking to meet me within the ordinary stuff of my life. He will meet me in my day to day, in my roles and responsibilities, revealing Himself to me and teaching me how to use those things to bring Him glory.

But I drift into the meaningless cycle of putting the means in place of the goal so quickly.


And the only way I’ve found to keep the goal of knowing Jesus the main thing, is to remember this...


And a gift aways points back to a Giver. That is the point. He is the point. The Giver Himself is the point.

In all I do, in all the roles and gifts and callings and responsibilities He has given me, I want to see Him and seek to bring Him glory. Because this life of a Christian is about knowing God.

Not doing for God.

Not living out God’s mission.

Not accomplishing greatness in God’s name.

It’s about knowing Him…


How do you remind yourself that being a christian is more about knowing God than serving Him? Do you struggle to make the doing for God more important than knowing God Himself?

Be blessed

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