awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith

Awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith

When I began making our secret family recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies, I followed the basic recipe and they were great! Then, over time, as I read and talked to other bakers, I learned tips on how to get the very best outcome consistently. For instance, “place parchment paper on the cookie sheet” and “measure your flour the proper way” are two of them. Wait, what? There is a proper way to measure flour? Turns out there is! These tips and others helped me overcome some common pitfalls and inconsistent results.

As I thought about this in regard to our Christian walk, I saw similarities. The Book of Proverbs encourages the habit of seeking godly wisdom and counsel. Our Christian faith is wonderful and strong with following the basics of: read your Bible, pray and go to church, but what amazing enriched lives we have when we learn from each other how to grow, live out our faith and avoid some common pitfalls. Receiving advice from godly people can help us grow in wisdom and perspective and avoid some blind-spots we may have otherwise.

I’m excited for you to meet a few friends who were willing to share some awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith.

Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Proverbs 19:20 (ESV)

Meet Melissa Egli

awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith
Melissa Egli and husband, David

I live in Fort Dodge, Iowa with my husband of 28 years, David. God collided our worlds and restored both of us from lives of destruction. Our story is one of restoration and God’s amazing goodness. We have seven children ranging in age from 27 to 12.
My passion outside of being a godly wife and mother is to be a light! We have an open door policy, and often have guests of many ages in our home. I absolutely love speaking God’s truth into the lives of young wives and moms. God has given me opportunities to be involved with MOPS and Moms in Prayer International as the Area Coordinator for twelve counties.
1 Samuel 22:33 God is my strong fortress. He makes my way perfect.

My tip for better Bible reading and/or study:

The Word of God is living! Power, truth, guidance and hope are found there. I have not always been consistent in reading the Word daily. There is a pointed difference in my level of peace when I am intentionally consistent. Having an expectation to read a large portion of scripture every day is sometimes overwhelming. Instead of setting a goal to read a certain amount, I set a goal to read……period. A verse, a chapter, a book….. just read and stay in tune to the living Word!

My favorite Bible Study I recommend:

If you have never taken the Fern Nichols study called “Igniting a Passion to Pray”, I highly recommend it!

My favorite books I recommend for growing as a Christian:

It would be difficult to pick one book as a favorite. My most recent read was “Hearts of Fire“ from Voice of the Martyrs. Another must read is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.

My tip for a better prayer life:

Start with praise. Have you ever sat down or knelt to pray only to find you just don’t have words? It happens to me sometimes. I learned from my connection with Moms in Prayer International, to start by praising God. It changes perspective from me to HIM and sweet prayer time follows. Only in my most raw and honest state, do I have the fulfillment of deep fellowship with my Creator. That state is achieved by praising Him, recognizing who He is and who I am in Him.

My tip for forgiving others and extending grace:

People are difficult. That’s why God gave us so much direct guidance about how to deal with others! He also reminds us that He gives grace and forgives…….over and over and over. When someone hurts me or even just really irritates me, this is what I focus on: God’s grace is sufficient for me. I do not deserve that grace. If He, the perfect Father, can grant grace to me, then who am I to hold grace back from another? A rule to follow: Fewer words spoken with grace are better than many words spoken without grace. ❤️

Other tips for growing as a Christian:

Always be honest. Never pretend your life is flawless and your walk with God is perfect. Be relatable by being real. You will find true fulfillment and you will be used by God. There is so much gained by mentoring. HAVE a wise, godly mentor and when you are ready, BE a wise, godly mentor!

Meet Jane Engelhardt

awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith
Jane Engelhardt and husband, John

John and I will have been married 30 years this year.  We have an adult son and daughter who both got married in the last year and both live out of state.  I am John’s assistant for his small business, and I also work another part-time job.  In my free time, I like to walk our dachshund, Ty, in his pet stroller. I enjoy seeing people smile and chuckle when they expect to see a baby yet see Ty peeking out!  Of course, John and I can’t get enough of travelling to see our kids.

My tip for better Bible reading/study:

I often lack concentration and focus when I read, so one thing that helps me in Bible study is to print from the computer a Bible passage and then use colored pens to mark key words and repeated words. Then I look up the definition of words, even those that I think I know and jot those on the printed copy. This method helps me gain better knowledge of what God is saying.

My favorite Bible study I recommend:

My favorite Bible studies are those that go through books of the Bible and that focus on literal interpretations. I think God is being clear with us, and by taking Him at His word I can stand with confidence on what He says and doesn’t say.

It’s so hard to pick a favorite, because each one I do seems like my new favorite! But the ones I always go back to are Genesis, Exodus, first and second Samuel, and Daniel.  Genesis is the foundation for everything, so it must be important, and it’s  historically interesting too!  Exodus had a huge impact on me because it was in that study and I learned Jesus was part of the Old Testament  as well.  I always wanted to learn more about the history of King David in first and second Samuel provided that. And finally I found the eschatology in Daniel to be fascinating, and I loved learning about his uncompromising faith during incredible hardship.

My tip for a better prayer life:

When I pray, I often find that I’m soon making a grocery list, or looking up something unrelated to my prayer on my tablet, or mulling over a problem in my mind and how I might solve it. In order to overcome this lack of attention to my prayer, I find that talking to God out loud when I pray keeps my mind focused on our conversation. This can be done anywhere — at home, outside, or in the car. These days others think nothing of your mouth moving when no one else is physically present since most of us talk “hands free” on our phones. No one knows you are talking with God so there is no need to feel self-conscious!

My tip for forgiving others and extending grace:

It is very hard to truly forgive. I look at things I’ve done in my life and they are really unforgivable. I can’t believe I actually did some of the things I’ve done, and I even do things today that I hate! I KNOW God has forgiven me through His Son Jesus, because He tells me that in His word over and over. When I feel like someone has done me wrong, it seems that the Lord allows me to remember the worst things I’ve done to humble me.  From this humble position, I am able to open up communication with the person more easily.  Almost without exception the relationship I have with the person is far more important to maintain than to dwell on the perceived wrong.

My favorite book I recommend for growing as a Christian:

Many years ago, my husband and I were going through marriage difficulties. I happened to obtain a book by a Christian author which focused on love being a verb, an action word, rather than a feeling. I believe the book was called “Love is a Decision”, by Gary Smalley. Reading this book helped me tremendously because at the time, I hadn’t thought of love that way, and I hadn’t really needed to! I thank God so much for leading me to that book, and it helped change my mindset and helped me truly love my husband and see the wonderful person God created him to be.


Meet Barbara Korell

My husband and I reside in West Des Moines, Iowa!  We have been married for 38 years. We have three beautiful daughters, and two grandsons, and spend as much time with them all as possible!
We lived and ministered in South Asia for six years, and then spent many years in pastoral ministry in the States. Jordon now travels the world to train pastors how to study and preach the Bible, and I travel with him occasionally, ministering to women. 
I have taught piano for 30 years as a part time job, but my passion is for mentoring and encouraging women in their walk with Jesus. 
Ours is a marriage that was restored in crisis, as others poured into us with God’s truth and their support. We are so thankful for what we learned about our identity in Christ, and for years we have been regularly meeting with other couples, both in crisis, and also mentoring those who have a desire to grow in their faith and in their marriages.

awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith
Barbara Korell

My tip for better Bible reading and/or study:

Have a two-fold plan in place.

1. Choose a reading program or a Bible book to study. I have been reading through the One Year Bible for 12 years, and it never gets old. I have a different colored pen each year and I have marked up my Bible with questions, observations and prayers relating to that time in my life because I will always be growing and learning.

2. Choose the same time daily to be in the Word – because reading/studying God’s Word is as important as breathing. This is how we gain our knowledge/understanding of God’s truth that we need constantly each day!

My favorite Bible study I recommend:

I recommend any of the Books of the Bible studies by Jen Wilkins. For those in the Des Moines area, Valley Church has many great studies on Books of the Bible that are wonderful!

My tip for a better prayer life:

Although prayer is a command in scripture, it is also a privilege, and a relational time with the Lord. It is a time to speak our praise and worship, our fears, our joys, our sorrows, and our cares It is also a time to listen quietly to the Spirit.

  • Plan to pray. I have learned that if it isn’t a priority in my schedule, it won’t happen.
  • Have a prayer list for yourself and for others. I have found that if I don’t follow a list while I pray, my mind will get distracted. I have the freedom to add to the list as the Spirit leads, but I still have the skeletal list of people and urgent prayer requests I want to pray for.
  • Pray first about what you have read in the Word. How it relates to my heart changes the focus of my prayer time. I can still pray through my list, but I have a perspective of the Word that challenges my heart and my prayer life.
  • Pray scripture. It is God’s own words! I often pray scripture for myself and others.
  • Pray over yourself first. I start with confession, submission, praise, and basic requests. I pray for myself first, because my heart needs to be in the right place to pray for others.
  • There are many good prayer apps for phones and tablets that keep everything organized in one place, and can be edited quite easily. I have found PrayerMate to be my favorite.

My tip for forgiving others and extending grace:

This two-fold recipe for forgiveness helped me in a tough time. “FORGIVENESS: Accepting that others’ sin or mistakes do have a profound effect on my life. ACCEPTANCE: Endure without protest.” Author unknown

In the same way that we ‘confess’ and acknowledge our sin to the Lord and receive the freedom from the bondage of the shame from our own sin, it is important to first acknowledge to ourselves the wrongs others have done to us before we can forgive them. We cannot forgive what we don’t admit hurt. Enduring without protest is another way of saying that I lay it down at the cross and don’t try to bemoan what cannot be changed from the past. It is like a weed killer for the root of bitterness.

Forgiveness is not a one time thing in most situations. It is a constant process of the heart in laying pain at the feet of Jesus and asking HIS help to forgive others.

My favorite books I recommend for growing as a Christian:

  • Invisible War by Ingram
  • Love Focused by Hughes
  • The Praying Life by Miller

Other tips for growing as a Christian:

Don’t make assumptions about and focus on other people’s thoughts and motives. We are usually wrong. Instead, focus on and assume the truth of God’s Word and His thoughts and motives clearly written for us.

Meet Renni Smith

My husband Dan and I have been married for 25 years. We have 2 beautiful daughters working on degrees at Drake and UNI.  I’m a certified personal trainer/fitness instructor and have been teaching for many years. Some of my favorite things are Honeycrisp apples, garage sales, and fresh flowers. 

awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith
Renni Smith

My tip for better Bible reading and/or study:

Join a Bible study. I’ve been enrolled in Bible Study Fellowship for over fifteen years. This Bible study involves a daily lesson, a small group discussion, a large group lecture and commentary on the passages studied that week. This thorough Bible study pushes me to dig deeper into the Scriptures. I personally need the structure and discipline of this Bible study to keep me focused throughout the school year. As a small group leader, I also meet weekly with other leaders. This time together also encourages me to dig deeper into the Bible. These wise women share what they are learning and challenge me to continue growing in my faith. BSF has an extensive website that provides lessons and tools for Bible study.

My favorite Bible study I recommend:

Bible Study Fellowship

My tip for a better prayer life:

Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit every morning so you are ready to serve the Lord and become more like Christ daily. I also recently starting reading a Proverb before going to bed which gives wise tips for Christian living.

My tip for forgiving others and extending grace:

Be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19). I am quick to forgive others and apologize for my wrongdoings. I also extend grace to others knowing the ultimate grace that Christ extended to me. I ask the Lord to help me to forgive when I’m struggling with forgiveness.

My favorite book I recommend for growing as a Christian is:

The Power of a Praying Wife. This book taught me how to rely on God. I learned that praying for my husband is an act of unconditional, sacrificial, unselfish love. The purpose is not to “change my husband” but to make MY heart right, show ME how to be a good wife, and seek God’s blessing. I was able to use this principle in other areas of my life too. I had to realize that it’s my responsibility to pray and God’s job to answer.

Other tips for growing as a Christian:

Be connected with other believers. I’m part of a small group of couples from my church. We meet weekly for Bible study and have invested in each other’s lives. I also lead a Moms in Prayer group. This group of moms meets weekly to pray for our children. This time of praying Scripture over our kids has helped me to grow as a Christian as we see answered prayers. I serve as a Youth group leader for High school kids at my church too. Being in the word regularly and shepherding a group of teenage girls keeps me aware of my actions as I point others to Christ.

Last, but not least

What a tremendous gift to have heard wisdom from the hearts of these beautiful women and their awesome tips for growing in your Christian faith. Do you have women in your life who seek to live their lives aligned with God’s Word and who share their wisdom and experience with you? In addition, are you sharing your knowledge and what you are learning about loving God and others with someone younger? We see mentoring relationships throughout the Bible. Jethro mentored Moses. Paul mentored Timothy. Naomi mentored Ruth. Paul wrote to Titus instructing him that mature women in the churches were to instruct younger women.

If the Lord is nudging you in this, you might consider reaching out to your Women’s Ministry Director at your church or if you do not have one, a Women’s Ministry Director in your denomination about connecting you with a mentor. For resources to mentor others, I highly recommend MORE Mentoring.

Let’s receive from and invest in other women in our local church by sharing our “tips” for growing in loving God and others!

I would love to hear from you! What is your favorite book that you recommend to grow as a Christian?

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