My grandparents have this “roller” tool for picking up fallen fruit, primarily apples and nuts. When I first saw it, I was fascinated! I loved the way it worked. And, I, along with my siblings, loved using it. Usually we didn’t like picking up fallen fruit, but the new device made it fun.
Fun, that it is, until we’d used it for a few days, until we’d each picked up 150+ apples and nuts. Then it became a chore. It was tiring. It was exhausting. Why? Because the “newness” and the excitement had worn off.
Sometimes it’s the same thing with our faith. We have moments in which we are so “on fire” for God. We love reading the Bible, prayer is the highlight of our day, and we can’t wait to tell others about God.
But sometimes, we get tired of praying without answers. Sometimes we just don’t want to pick up our Bibles. And Sometimes we fear telling others about what we believe.
When you feel like that, remember this verse!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Keep on spreading your faith, even if people make fun of you! Continue to pray, even if you don’t have an answer yet! And go read your Bible (Even when you’d rather do something else!) So that we, with Paul can say:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2. Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
Trust me – it’s worth it!
Sarah Susanna Rhomberg is a sixteen-year-old child of God, who lives in Europe, and is fluent in both English and German. Besides writing she spends most of her free time reading, practicing her instruments or doing crafts. She wants to live her life for Christ and writes to glorify Him.
This guest post by Sara Rhomberg is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for guest posting, Sara! You did an awesome job, and this devotional is super encouraging! 😀
Your turn! What did you think of Sara’s guest post? Were you encouraged? Are you going to submit a guest post like Sara here? Did anyone else Google “apple/nut/fruit roller thingy”? (No? Just me? :P)
Hey guys! A couple of weeks ago, I posted 5 Tools Every Christian Blogger Needs, which listed some great resources for Christian bloggers that hopefully helped make Christian blogging a little easier for you!
This post is also in the ‘for Christian bloggers’ category. Today, I’m going to be teaching you guys how to write a devotional! It really helps me to blog about what I’m working on or struggling with, and lately, I’ve been trying to give my devotionals a clear, concise style and a solid format and message, so in this post, I’m going to help you do that in your devotionals!
I hope this post helps you, and whether you’ve written hundreds of devotionals or are about to write your first one, you can learn something from these tips! So, let’s get started!
Step 1: Finding Inspiration
You can get inspiration for a devotional from anywhere! Just take a look around you – what are you thankful for? Is there something in the room that you’ve had an experience with? Do you see the birds chirping through the window and think about God’s creation? Do you notice a book that taught you a really great lesson about life or faith or showed you something new?
Whenever you get stuck, try thinking about your life right now. What are you struggling with or going through? Sometimes, I don’t always like talking about how to stand firm during a struggle I’m going through, since I’m still trying to figure that out for myself. Other times, writing about a struggle is like encouraging yourself and others who are going through the same thing.
Take a look at your daily life. Usually, my devotionals are inspired by conversations with my family or my friends, or maybe the topic of a sermon or lesson I learned in church. Think about your favorite parts of the day. What makes mornings so special for you? Is it because you get to relax in the silence while spending time with God? Or maybe you love evenings because that’s when you read your Bible plan? You can take those moments, conversations, and lessons, and use that as inspiration for your next devotional!
I also get a TON of ideas from my daily devotionals. Each of the topics in my daily devotionals always inspires something that I want to write about! It’s wrong to take the devotional and copy it word for word on your blog or write a post REALLY similar to it – that’s called plagiarism and it’s illegal. But, it’s always okay to use the devotional as inspiration! If the devotional was about God’s love, then you could take inspiration from that concept and write a post on that same topic in your own words and ideas.
I’m also really inspired by my The Message Bible because it helps me look at Bible verses in a totally different way! Since it’s worded very modernly, it’s easy to understand and grasp the concept of each verse. Once, by just flipping through it, I came up with four ideas for blog posts! I always quote the verse I was inspired by in the devotional, so that way my concepts and ideas are backed up by the Bible.
As you can see, there’s a TON of different ways that you can get inspiration! All it takes is flipping through a book of devotionals, looking around the room, or thinking back to a conversation. And once you’ve found inspiration for what you’re writing about, you’re ready for the next step!
Step 2: Creating an Outline
Everyone’s minds work differently – especially the minds of writers and bloggers. There’s a constant debate in the noveling world between plotters, those who keep their story on track using an outline, and ‘pantsers’, those who write by the ‘seat of their pants’ and discover their story as they go along.
Even if you may be a ‘pantser’, it’s really important that you write an outline beforehand. It helps keep you on track, and it will save you a ton of time editing in the end if you have the message of your devotional already identified and incorporated beforehand.
There are tons of different ways to write an outline. It’s going to take a little bit of experimenting to find one that works for you, and that’s okay! You want to find an outline that fits your style, personality, and writing and is most comfortable for you.
When I’m writing a typical blog post, like this one, my outline is way different from what I’m starting to use in my actual devotionals. Here’s how I outlined the first step of this post:
Step 1: Finding Inspiration
QUESTION: Where can you find inspiration and ideas for devotionals?
Since in this post I’m teaching you guys something, instead of a topic sentence, I had a question written down in my outline that I wanted to answer through those paragraphs. But, let’s say I’m doing a blog post on my experience at camp. Here’s what the outline for one of my paragraphs could look like: (This could probably be a post in the future!)
Section 3: How I Grew Closer To God
TOPIC SENTENCE: At camp, I grew closer to God in so many different ways.
Batter’s Box Devotionals
Team Meeting at the Sanctuary
But for devotionals, your outline is probably going to be a lot different from this. Before you start your devotional, even if you don’t really use an outline, make sure to answer these questions:
What is the main topic of your devotional? What is the message or theme?
What Bible verses and scripture can you use to back up your points?
How do you want your readers to feel after reading your devotional? Empowered? Loved? Empathetic? Generous? Encouraged? Happy? Comforted?
Once you have these questions, you’re ready to start either outlining or writing your devotional! If you don’t really like outlining and it’s not your style, you can always skip to Step Three! But for those who want to learn a little more about outlining devotionals, stick around!
After you’ve answered the questions, all that’s left is to map out where the main points of your devotional will go! For example, an outline for a devotional could look like this:
Update them with a little bit of what’s happening in your lifeIntroduce the topic
Thanks for reading
But, of course, just like every writer/blogger is different, your outline will be different from this too! Like I said before, it takes a lot of experimenting, changing, and playing around to find the outline that works for you. The outline that works could be detailed descriptions of every paragraph, a simple map like this one, just the main questions, or no outline at all! (Although, an outline is always recommended!)
Step 3: Write!
Now that you have inspiration, the main questions answered, and an outline of your devotional, it’s finally time to actually write the devotional! Use your outline as a map of your devotional to help keep you on track. Don’t let your outline restrict your creativity – use it as a guide to help you create the best devotional possible!
Make sure to incorporate Bible verses along the way that clearly state your point and back up your message. Don’t forget to cite where you found the verse in the Bible (e.g. John 3:16) and the translation you’re quoting (e.g. MSG). Bible verses are an awesome way to connect the Bible to your devotional!
Make sure to use clear, easy-to-read sentences in your devotional. You don’t need to jazz it up with melodramatic metaphors or big words – I admit, I’m guilty of doing that in the past, haha. 😉 But, I’ve learned that simply stating the powerful message of your devotional has greater impact. Take a look at this: which paragraph is easier to understand?
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, the Holy One, the Prince of Peace, dwindled on a cross so perhaps we could become emancipated of our transgressions and have perpetual life with Him forever.
Or: Jesus, our Savior, died on a cross so that we could be free of our sins and live with him eternally in Heaven.
The first one is a super exaggerated example – hopefully, nobody’s written a devotional like that, haha. But there’s a huge difference between the two sentences – the first one leaves you looking at the dictionary, and the other one reminds you why God died for you and leaves a little sense of peace. Keep in mind that simple is better!
After reading all of this post, you might feel a little overwhelmed – but writing a devotional is easier than you think! If you get stuck, use your outline and pray that God will use you to write something that will impact others. Remembering who you’re doing this for will help you keep going even at the toughest of writer’s block moments!
Step 4: Revise & Edit
You’ve found inspiration for what you’re writing about. You’ve answered questions and created an outline. You’ve written out the entire devotional, and even maybe added some graphics or a featured image. So, surely you’re done, right?
Unfortunately, there is one last step. But don’t worry – this doesn’t take too long! Revising and editing are kind of like a double check to make sure everything is perfect. You correct mistakes, spelling, and grammar, strengthen your points, polish your sentences, and make sure everything is clear and concise.
To help with all of that, it’s nice to have an extra set of eyes look over your devotional and give you feedback. A great person for this is your mom, who will hopefully give you honest feedback! You can always ask your friends, blogging friends, or people on an online group such as The Young Writer’s Workshop Community.
The more people that read your devotional before you post it, the more opinions you’ll have – which can be a blessing AND a curse! Having too many different opinions and feedback will completely backfire, since you won’t know what to think! People will always disagree with you or other feedback, and you can’t please everybody. But, having a few people read over your post is a great way to revise and edit!
After you’ve gotten feedback from others, use their feedback to help edit! You don’t have to use other’s feedback if you’re on a crunch for time – for example, if I’m just writing a little blog post, I might not edit very much at all. But, if I’m submitting an article to a magazine, I would have several weeks’ worth of editing and rewriting to polish my devotional.
Step 5: Publish!
All that’s left is to add tags, categories, and maybe some images, and you’re ready to hit publish!
Writing devotionals is a lot of hard work, but it’s super rewarding in the end. Not only will you help share a positive message and show Jesus to others through your writing, but you’ll also grow closer to Him through writing your devotionals!
Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you learned something new from this post, and that you were inspired to try writing a devotional of your own.
Did you learn anything from this post? Have you ever written a devotional? What’s YOUR number-one devotional-writing tip? Did you read the whole thing? 😛
In today’s Christian culture, we see a lot of preaching, but not a lot of practicing what you preach. In fact, we’ve seen this throughout Biblical history. in Matthew 23:3, Jesus himself says,
“So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
They were talkers, but not walkers. The Pharisees, (who Jesus was talking to in the verse above), preached many good things, but of course they also taught wrong things, like Jesus was not God, or the Oral Law (a man-made add-on to the Torah). We can see that throughout the Bible.
And just like the Pharisees, sometimes Christians can fall into the habit of talking, and not walking. As Christians, we are examples for non-believers. So, what are non-believers supposed to think? It’s fair for them to be very confused.
If I wasn’t a Christian, I would be confused if I saw some of the Christians I see today! I know a lot of “Christians” but I don’t know a lot of true Christians, who practice what they preach, who walk and not just talk.
I have this one friend who is extremely close to God and she truly searches out for the truth. She is a prayer warrior, an amazing friend, and she loves like crazy. That’s God in her life! I’ve rarely seen a Christian such as her.
My friend, who’s name shall remain unknown for her privacy’s sake, even differs on her beliefs than her parents because she has different beliefs, (it’s on a few small things, it’s not much), but I used to say, “My parents believe it so it’s right.” Of course, that’s when I was about seven-years-old, because I read the Bible, I had faith that was boundless, but I didn’t know the words theology, doctrine, or supernatural being.
Of course, my mother talked to me about these things, she always pushed me to be better and think deeper. I loved to think about motives of actions, since I was seven. I had probably heard those words, yet I didn’t know exactly what they meant. Now, as I’ve grown older, I’ve grown as a Christian.
Unfortunately, many people stay at a state where they aren’t growing as Christians. Then, when they get older, those people stray from the faith and trust in God and possibly all religions because they were never rooted in their own faith, they were holding their parents hands. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If we do not have conviction, a firmly held belief, then we do not have true faith.
We hear a lot of sermons on doing good but we never make an effort to. We read a lot of quotes on being kinder but don’t try to be kinder. We see a lot of people that we admire but we don’t model ourselves after them.
Where’s the disconnect? I’ll tell you. It is this: Holding onto someone else’s faith, like your parent’s, instead of your own.Not looking out for answers for yourself. Not caring enough. “I will go to Heaven anyway…” or “It doesn’t matter. I’m not dead yet!”
Those are wrong attitudes/beliefs to have as a child of God. My challenge to you is this: Practice what you preach and believe in it to the fullest.
How to Start:
Read the Bible for yourself.
Look up root words and know their meanings instead of just reading them.
And finally, just pray like you mean it!
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye. shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
And with that I leave you. Good bye and good luck! Thanks, Emmie, for letting me guest post. ❤
Meet The Guest Blogger:
Ariana Evans is a Christian teenager, who very much loves her family and friends. I she wants to be a lawyer and counselor when she grows up, and loves to write and practice photography. She was saved when she was four years old, and blogs at Ariana’s Archives.
Blogging in general isn’t easy, but Christian blogging especially can be really challenging. There’s so many different elements to it, difficult topics, and can be too close to home or really difficult to write – and then you have to worry about citing every Bible reference, making sure nothing conflicts with the Truth, proving your point in a clear and concise way that people can understand. And, of course, there are always going to be people who don’t agree with your views or don’t get it.
If blogging is so hard, then why do we do it? Because we have a voice that needs to be heard and a story that needs to be told. If you’re getting uninspired or discouraged with Christian blogging, think about who you’re doing this for. Spoiler alert: The whole purpose of this is to honor God and share his message.
So, I’ve put together a list of tools for Christian bloggers that will help make that blogging journey a little bit easier! So, let’s get right into it! (These aren’t in any particular order, and this post is not sponsored.)
Hey there people, my name is Julia. I’m a writer, blogger, bookdragon, Ice cream lover, and a kazillion other things. (Annoying being one of those.)
You know what else I am? A Christian.
Now, if you’ve been around the blogosphere a time or two you may have noticed something. Many bloggers, in their bios, mention a handful of things that define them – such as a writer, reader, entrepreneur, etc. And in the same way, they will also include things like “Christian”, “Child of God”, “Believer”, and “Jesus follower” to let people know about their Faith in God. This is all perfectly fine, I firmly believe that we who are saved should make it clear Who it is that we serve.
Christians have fallen into the incredibly deep pit of LABELS. And this habit is starting to not only dampen our lives — but it’s also the very source of our IDENTITY PROBLEMS.
Do you call yourself a “writer”? — that tells people that you write (obviously) and gives them a picture of one of the things you spend your time doing. But, what if I was to take away that title – that label of a “writer” from you. Guess what? You would still be you! Me taking away that label does absolutely nothing to change you.
Are you a “reader” or a “bookworm”? That tells us you like to read — a lot. But if that label of a “reader” was taken away, you’d still be the same book-loving person as before.
The same is with an artist, or a plumber, or a chef – you strip them of their labels and they remain the same people.
Labels help define you, but they are not you.
This is because, like Colin Wright once said, these labels — they are an easy and fast way to let people know what sort of things you like to do or are interested in. But they are still just labels – and no matter how well a label may describe you, it is still not truly who you are.
This is why people have such a hard time with their identity and knowing who they are.
Because we put so much on labels. We want to be able to grasp a title and say “THIS IS WHO I AM” – but its not that easy, and often, even once you’ve found a title that fits you really well, you’ll still feel discontented because that’s not who you are – things that define something can never be that thing themselves.
So how do you discover your true identity?
Speaking specifically to Christians, the answer to this is the same thing we forget while telling the world “I’m a Christian”.
We’re so busy using the title or label of a Christian, that we forget what that actually means. We start to view it as this thing, something we put on as our identity – like clothes.
The key to truly finding our identities is in remembering that Christianity is NOT a label – Christianity is WHO WE ARE.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
Galatians 3:26 NIV
You are a child of the Great I AM. Once you were the child of Sin, but now you have been adopted into God’s family. Which means, that old identity, that old name, that old person you used to be is GONE. Now you are a Christian and that’s not just some title or label that describes you.
THAT IS WHO YOU ARE – Inside – The REAL YOU.
When you’re saved, that Sinful person dies and a new person is born – not on the outside, but on the inside – your identity – your very being is made new.
A Christian is not WHAT I am, a Christian is WHO I am.
You can strip away my claims of being a “writer”, “reader”, or “blogger” –you can tear away all the labels I’ve ever used to describe myself — but you can NEVER, NEVER, take away my identity.
All those labels, they can be lost, after all, they’re only temporal – but my position as a child of GOD is ETERNAL.
Because that’s the deepest part of who I am.
And behind all the labels – that’s who you are too.
So let’s not forget it.
Meet the Blogger:
Julia Skinner is a lover of fantasies, cleanliness, and sarcasm with a rather concerning fondness of sharp things. She dwells in the reclusive Texas countryside with her parents and 4 siblings where she bemourns her ruthless nemesis: MATH, fumes at her computer’s unresponsiveness whenever she attempts to do her college and buries herself between pages of words. Her existence solely relies on the constant, never-ending mercy of her Savior Jesus Christ and she lives to bring Him glory in all things.
Julia writes about all things inspiring, from books to hobbies, every week over at LITAFLAME.BLOG
Hey guys. It’s Emmie here. I’m honestly at loss for words at how wonderful this post is and how incredible the message is. Thank you so much to Julia for writing it and congratulations to her on winning the giveaway!
If you would like your guest post featured like this one, I am opening guest post submission in a few weeks! (Think March 6). I’m looking forward to seeing your submissions!
Are you planning on submitting a guest post when submissions open? Did you like this post as much as I did? Do you find your identity in God, not labels?
Sorry this is late! I had ballet and school yesterday, and on Wednesday I was super busy with schoolwork and more dance!
Hey guys! Before we begin, I would like to thank everyone for your support for the giveaway! We’ve gotten a lot of entries and I’m super excited! I’m so impatient to find out who wins, I don’t think I can wait until February 3! We also are also at 60 followers now, so thank you so much!!
I mentioned in my post Release that my personal word of the year is Flexible, and I’m going to share with you today what that means to me!
flexible [flek-suh-buhl] adjective
-capable of bending easily without breaking -able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions. -(of a person) ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances.
I’m a dancer, so being flexible is important. If you can do the splits on the ground, you’ll be able to leap into the air beautifully onstage. You can bend your body to perform better, and strengthen your muscles to help you hold flexible positions longer.
But the word flexible doesn’t only apply to dancers, contortionists, gymnasts, and more, it also applies to personality!
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:12-13 English Standard Version (ESV)
I like things to be nice, even, clear. I set a lot of deadlines for myself, and get really stressed out if I don’t finish them. (I thought I was going to be able to film my Christmas AGSM by December 21, but I only finished it on New Years’ Day!)
So, this year, I’m trying to be more flexible with my schedule, “deadlines”, and accept changes in my life as part of God’s plan.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Last year I faced a lot of changes and a lot of new things, and this year might not bring such drastic alterations to my life. But it surely will bring changes.
In a way, being flexible kind of means being strong, too: “capable of bending easily without breaking.” Even though this definition is probably more for material things, I think it can also apply to life! If you are flexible, you’ll be able to stand more firm in your faith.
To keep this series going, I need your help! What’s YOUR word of the year? If you share it in the comments, it might be featured in the next part of the series! Thank you so much for your help, guys! God bless!
PS: We’re no longer accepting guest posts and new authors for the time being, but submissions will reopen in spring.
Last year, was full of many hardships and pain. I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, my grandfather died, and I had a lot of anxiety. So this year, my family is making a resolution to let go from the pain and hurt and worry, let go of old problems and arguments, and let go of 2018.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
–1 John 1:9
Letting go makes room for new things. Sometimes those new things can be hard, but sometimes they can be the most abundant blessings that you never dared dream of. In 2019, ask God to help you Take the Plunge and release your old self.
A right time to search and another to count your losses, A right time to hold on and another to let go…
–Ecclesiastes 3:6 (MSG)
When we become Christians, the blood of Jesus washes away our sins. We are made new in the eyes of Jesus! All you have to do to become a Christian is say this prayer aloud with me:
Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me of my sin. Wash me and cleanse me. Set me free. Release me, Jesus. Jesus, thank You that You died for me. I believe that You have risen from the dead and that You’re coming back again for me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Give me a passion for the lost, a hunger for the things of God and a holy boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m saved; I’m born again, I’m forgiven and I’m on my way to Heaven because I have Jesus in my heart.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Thank you for reading, and have a lovely day! God is on your side in 2019! Stay tuned for a post on my personal word of the year, flexible. This trusting God in 2019 has become sort of a series!
PS Thank you for 50 followers! It means so much to me that you all like my devotionals. I’m working on something awesome for our 1-year blogaversiary + 50 followers celebration! Make sure to check back on Monday, the 21st of January, because that’s when SFMF will be turning 1!
PPS Thank you to Bigskybuckeye for the inspiration for this post! In the comments, your shared your words for 2019 and that prompted me to write about mine!