Faith · Uncategorized

What’s the Struggle?


Finding time to read my Bible is a daily struggle.

For so long I felt like I was doing a disservice to God on days I neglected to spend time in the Word. Guilt would flood my thoughts and I would catch myself wondering if God was mad at me. I didn’t take the time to tick “read my Bible” off of my daily tasks and surely that angered the Lord.

It wasn’t until recently that I began to see the reality of this situation.

My mind was set on the wrong motives. I found myself cracking open my Bible out of a sense of duty and likewise leaving my encounters with God with the mentality of “Well, that’s done for today,” instead of having gleaned a morsel of truth from the experience. I had become so driven by my natural instinct to complete my daily to-dos that I had forgotten the very reason I read my Bible to begin with.

God didn’t provide us with the double-edged sword (the Bible) so that we could make Him happy. He didn’t supply us with his Word to complete anything about Himself. He doesn’t need completing. The real reason we have the Word is so that we can have daily opportunities to grow and learn. So neglecting to read my Bible is more a disservice to myself than it is to God.

The Bible should be something we approach with love every day. As Christians, we make it so easy on ourselves to develop the wrong mentality when we try to justify how reading the Bible just doesn’t fit into our schedule. We gripe and complain that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but the only person losing when we choose not to read the Bible is ourselves. There’s no “Sorry, God, I’m just too busy today.” He doesn’t need us to continue in His glory, however, he has entrusted us with his valuable wisdom found in the book that we let collect dust on our shelves.

If we can change our view of reading God’s Word we will change our schedules to make time for it. When we drop the sense of duty we’ve attached to Bible Study and allow the wisdom and aid of scripture to permeate our hearts and minds we will find new motivation to set everything aside for the purpose of Christ. Our hearts should long for those moments in His presence. Our lives should feel a sense of desire to plug-in or communicate with God.

Reading the Bible shouldn’t be a daily struggle. When it becomes a game of making God happy it’s time to realign our motivation.

What have you learned or been motivated by lately?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

Bible Journal Update

A few weeks ago I purchased a new Bible Journal and shared some of my earliest studies and artwork with you. Today I wanted to take some time to share some of the things I’ve been reading and creating lately as an update on how I’m using my Bible. At the end of July and beginning of August I studied the book of Daniel. Using the She Reads Truth app I read through the book and was challenged by many of the ideas presented. Through studying Daniel I was pointed to other scriptures as well such as 1 John 2:15-16 and 2 Peter 3:9.


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After I wrapped up my study of the book of Daniel I began another study which walks through the life of Moses beginning in the book of Exodus. Currently, I’m still reading through the this study using She Reads Truth as a guide for my daily reading and devotions. Here is a look at some of the major ideas that have spoken to my heart in Daniel and the beginning of Exodus.


Each day that I sit down to study God’s Word I bring my Bible, journal, and a plethora of art supplies. I read through my daily passage and devotion. Then I pray over what I read. Some days that time of reflection leads me to a specific image or work of art. I spend another twenty minutes or so focusing on what the scripture says and how it applies to me as I create my works of art. In the pictures above I’ve used pens, colored pencils, crayons, water color paints, stickers, and stencils. I am an artistic-minded person and so I get so much joy out of this time interacting with God’s Word and my illustrations help me to remember the passages and tattoo them on my soul. I’m excited to branch out with my illustrations and try some new tools and materials in the future. I’m also learning so much as I walk through the Old Testament.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

My New Journal Bible

A few months ago I began a quest for a Journal Bible after following several blogs highlighting ideas and benefits of keeping one. My quest ended this weekend when I purchased my Bible at a local Christian Bookstore. The Bible I picked out was a Zondervan Holy Bible Journal Edition in th NIV translation. Each page has a single column for notes or artwork.

I first learned about Bible Journaling on Pinterest–I later created a board based on ideas I had found articles that seemed helpful. Then I was led to visit a blog which has become a favorite of mine. Rachel Wojo is an Christian author who blogs and is also a Bible Journaler. She’s inspired me a lot with her love of scripture. Through my months of investigating I’ve found some really neat blogs and articles about this creative method of Bible Study. Another site I like is called Illustrated Faith. I really like their infographic about how to do this method:


My brain is wired in such a way that I love to read, write, and create. This method of Bible study is appealing to me because it focuses on reflecting on scripture using the creative parts of my brain. I can dwell on what scripture is really saying or the promises of God’s Word and create unforgettable word art inspired by the truth I’m learning at the time. I haven’t done too much lately, but here is a look at two things I’ve done so far.

At this point, I’ve still looking for supplies. I’d love to find some pens, highlighters, markers, stickers, etc. that won’t bleed through the pages of a Bible. That seems to be the most difficult part. If you have experience in the art of Bible Journaling please share your tips. I’m still a newbie, but am already loving the practice of reading, reflecting, praying, and creating.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

Journal Bibles

One of my favorite blogs which I follow is by Rachel Wojo. She is a creative and inspiring person who posts about her faith and journey through God’s Word. Lately, Pintrest and Rachel’s blog have been capturing my interests with this new phenomenon in Bible study methods.

Essentially Bible Journaling is an illustrative approach to memorizing or dwelling on scripture.With this practice you turn your Bible into a visual scrapbook of your faith. You can journal within the margins of any Bible, but the exercise has become so popular that many Christian publishers now offer Journal Bibles.

After a few months teetering on the edge of the practice and attempting to journal within the margins of my NIV study Bible, I think I am ready to take the plunge. I would like to purchase a Journal Bible. I’m reaching out to my community for help.

Journal Bibles are a large market.

Not only are there different publishers, but there various translations, styles, and font sizes to choose from. I want to find a Journal Bible that is affordable, but that will also last. I’d like the pages to be thicker than a standard Bible and plenty of space to write and draw. There are so many choices that I’m completely overwhelmed.

Below are my top three picks. If you are experienced in the craft and have better options to suggest please do so. Otherwise, I’m looking for opinions 🙂

  1. Inspire Bible-NLT-Elastic Band Closure, Teal Imitation Leather

    9781496413741.jpg($27.99- Lifeway)

2.ESV Single Column Journaling Bible 

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3. ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition (Cloth over Board, Turquoise/Coral), Multicolor

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The Ameri Brit Mom


Faith · Uncategorized

Live Loved


This Valentine’s Day I received a copy of Margaret Feinberg’s Live Loved: An Adult Coloring Book. This book is so much more than a booklet of motor skill refining pictures. Rather this book is a walk through some of the most intimate scriptures which highlight God’s love for His people.

Some people (like me) are wired with creative tendencies. For those of us who enjoy artistic expression we need to make sure we find creative outlets for those personality traits. It’s easy to get busy and to keep from expressing ourselves as artists, but it is imperative to spend time rewinding in a creative activity.

This book is really a cutting-edge idea.

I journal and write about what I am learning in my journey through God’s Word, but I’ve never put much thought into reflecting on what I read in a more creative way. The whole idea behind this book is to spend extended amounts of time creating, praying, memorizing and reflecting on passages from God’s Word.

Over the next several months I intend to begin Bible Journaling. (If you are unfamiliar with what all that entails check out this post by Rachel Wojo.) Working my way through this book, however, is a great segue to that process. I will openly admit that while my mind may be wired in a creative manner that my abilities may not be top-of-the-line. As I work my way through this book I plan to share with you some of my pages and reflections. So, please, no judging the artwork.

Today, I read and reflected on 1 John 3:1.


After completing my illustrative page I turned my attention to God’s Word. I was led to a passage in the following chapter (1 John 4:16-18) which also focuses on God’s love and what that means.


Today, my prayer is that I begin to live a life more focused on the fact that I am loved by my God. That in doing so I may experience love without fear. That I might accept the only love which makes me complete through seeing myself as lovable is my prayer. Lastly, I pray that God’s love spills over into the way that I love others around me.

The Ameri Brit Mom



Welcome to my very own Creative Writing Month where each day of the month I am focusing on a topic and spending fifteen minutes reflecting and writing as inspired by the topic. For more information about why and how check out my post, Writing Down the Bones.

Good Writing

Today’s topic: Write about leaving and whatever ideas that word brings to your mind.

“Juliana! It’s time to leave!” Her mother shouted toward Juliana’s upstairs bedroom.

Juliana sat in the centrifuge surrounded by fully-packed cardboard boxes. She glanced about her room and noticed a stray object near her window sill. Standing, she made her way toward the object of her attention. Moving as a serpent through the maze of boxes Juliana made her way to the window and reached out her arm to take hold of a book.

It was dusty and forgotten. The leather binding was worn and the imprinted title was rubbing through the canvas cover. Juliana opened to the title page.

The Holy Bible

Zondervan Printing

Copyright 1931

The wooden floor creaked below her feet as she shifted her weight to sit atop a sturdy, secured box. Juliana flipped through the old pages. She allowed the musty smell of old books to overtake her soul. The scent reminiscent of the day she spent in the attic with her grandmother. One day last  winter they had spent hours in the attic going through old clothes and belongings preparing for the impending move.

“Granny, may I try this one?” Juliana giggled as she held up a pair of old denim overalls.

She and her grandmother had spent a day laughing as they sorted through box upon box in the old room. Sunlight leaked through a small circular window in the front facet of the room. The heat from the furnace upstairs kept them toasty as the snow built up outside below them.

How could she have known that this would be her winter with Granny? That the last days with her would be spent in a hospital surrounded by non-familiar people and machines which kept her from fully embracing the Granny that she had known.

Juliana sat on the box hugging the Bible which Granny had given her the day they spent in the attic. Juliana had found it buried in a box filled with photographs of Granny’s siblings and Juliana’s mother as an infant.

“Do you like it?” Granny had asked Juliana when she caught her wrapping her arms around the book. Juliana nodded. “Then it’s yours. Have it and keep it. It was passed to me from my mother. Keep it in the family and give it to your children.” The memories flooded her mind.

“Juliana! The moving van is here.” Her mother cried once again, This time she heard her mother’s feet on the stairs moving toward her bedroom. “Juliana!”

Her mother entered the doorway to her bedroom and found her wrapping the Bible in her arms.  A single tear was escaping down Juliana’s cheek.

“Honey, it’s time to leave now. The men are here to take the boxes,” Her mother pushed her way through the boxes and placed a hand on Juliana’s shoulder.

“I know. I wish she was going with us. It was her idea.” Juliana referred to her Grandmother’s idea to move south.

“I know, me too, dear.” Her mother pulled Juliana in for a true embrace. “She is with us wherever we go now.”

“But this is where the memories are. The new house will have not known her. This is where she lived. This is where we all lived together!” Juliana’s tears had began to leak through now as though a faulty dam was giving way.

“The memories will go with us, Jules. No matter where we live or where we go nothing can take those away.” Juliana moved into her mother. She was sobbing now and clinging to the large Bible in one arm.

Her mother held her and gave her a few minutes to cry before she helped her to move.

“No matter where we go Granny is always with us. She’ll be with us in the new house and in your new school. So let’s go put the boxes in the truck.” Juliana stood to her feet and opened the nearest box.  She lifted the tape and stuck the Bible within it.

Her mother held out a hand which Juliana grabbed. Their fingers laced together forming a tight grip. Together the Robertson’s left behind an old house of memories and made their way toward the moving truck. Destination: South Carolina.


Dear Bible…

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Dear Bible,

There is no excuse for the layer of dust which is collecting atop your burgundy leather binding. As you  have sat on the table beside my writing place your absence from my life has gone unnoticed until now. Things are settling down and my life is beginning to once again resemble normality. In those moments when I try to put a finger on the nagging feeling that I’ve missed something important I am reminded of all of the good times we’ve shared together and how it’s be a little while since our last encounter.

If you feel abandoned or neglected please know that was not my intent. As you ache to be noticed I ache to be filled. I miss the days where we spent hours together. I begged a question of you and found wisdom in your words. Too long has passed since our last meeting.

So as I sit here and think about our many pleasant memories together I anticipate cracking you open and hearing the rustle of your thin pages. I miss the way your words jump off the page at me. I wish to once again experience the life that comes from your every word. For far too long I’ve tried to make it through each difficult day with my faith alone. But, today I am ready to pick you back up again. I am empty and I need the fulfillment that comes from spending time with you. Shall we begin?

A good writer can see a story and life in every object. 



This week my aunt turned me on to the newest female Bible app and community, First5. The app was created by Proverbs 31 Ministries to ensure that you spend the first five minutes of each day in God’s Word. I came upon the app because my aunt had just read The Best Yes by the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst. On several occasions my aunt sent me recommendations about this book and I began to research it as well as lay claim to her copy once she had finished her reading of it.


The author is speaking this weekend at a Proverbs 31 conference called She Speaks. At this conference Lysa is speaking specifically to women called by God to write, teach, preach and lead. Which if you think about our calling as Christians that applies to every one of us in some way. Although I cannot physically be at the conference in North Carolina, (once I found out about it I seriously contemplated the idea of hopping on a plane and attending, but alas, it was sold out) I was able to view the opening session upon the download of the First5 app.


I stayed up late listening to the entire lesson. It was nearly an hour, but the teaching was so applicable and relevant that it hardly felt like ten minutes. During the opening session Lysa spoke about recognizing God’s role in your ministry. I felt so convicted because so often it’s easy to rely on my own strength in ministry without first coming to God and realizing just how much I need God in my ministry before I can be effective.

The scripture that she pulled from was Mark 6:30-56: The Feeding of the Five Thousand and Jesus Walking on Water. Did you know that apart from the Resurrection of Jesus that the feeding of the five thousand is the only other miracle of Jesus’ ministry recorded in all four gospels? It is this very truth that led Lysa to examine this miracle so closely. The things of most importance always seem to be repeated throughout scripture.

Here are three points that Lysa made that really hit home for me:

1. The disciples came to Jesus bragging about their own ministries.

In the first verse of this section it says, “the apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught.” In essence, the apostles are returning from their individual ventures they were commissioned to in the world and were telling stories about all of the things they had accomplished. I picture this as a slightly competitive conversation. “Oh yeah, well I did this…” To me, this passage stood out because I know that oftentimes I try to accomplish things in my own power. Worse yet, I take credit for things that God has done for or through me. I hope I’m not the only person who can relate here. I’m guilty of pride when my blog boosts high stats or when an author of a book I’ve read responds to an email I sent. This verse put me back in my place. Just as the disciples could not have performed their miracles or drove out demons without first having the power of Jesus within them I too cannot take credit for the words that Jesus has divinely given me to use in my ministry of writing.

2. Jesus did all the work. All we have to do is serve.

The disciples are sitting with Jesus getting a little frustrated by the crowd of people he was drawing to himself. All they wanted was a little time alone to recharge and reconnect. But, in the midst of their selfishness Jesus calls them to serve. In verse 36 the apostles plead with Jesus, “Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But Jesus responds simply in verse 37 with, “You give them something to eat.” In this verse Jesus is telling the apostles that their role is to serve the people who have come to learn from Him. He didn’t tell them it was their responsibility to conduct the miracles and multiply five loaves and two fish, but rather to serve the people who were hungry. In the same way we who are called by God to write, teach, preach, or lead are called also to serve those around us. We are to allow Jesus to do His thing without taking credit and humbly serve others.

3. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

This point was so powerful. Lysa continues to the narrative of Jesus Walking on Water. Not only are the apostles quick to forget what they had just learned with the miracle of feeding the five thousand, but as they are sailing across the lake they fail to recognize Jesus and verses 49-50 say, “when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.” Being the linguisitic nerd that I am I love when speakers dive into the original Greek meanings of Biblical terms and phrases. In her discussion, Lysa says that the term terrified here in the original language means, “setting into motion something that was meant to be still.” Wow! This really spoke to me as someone who struggles with anxiety and fear. Like Lysa, I’m one of those people who is constantly working myself up with worst-case scenarios. But this translation of a word so prevalent in my vocabulary showed me how often I set myself into motion when all I am meant to do is be still. I freak out and imagine outcomes constantly when I should be staying still and putting my faith in God to see me through.

Lysa made more points than just these, but these three that stood out to me that I felt applied to my life and situation. I wanted to share these truths with you.

If you haven’t already, you should download the First5 app. The first study begins on Monday and I am looking forward to it. I can’t think of a better way to spend the first five minutes of each day than in God’s Word. Join me and thousands others as we embark on the journey of First5 together.


How the Gospel Changes Things and Bible Study Ideas


Have you ever had the insatiable need to hear from God? I had this need earlier in the week to abandon all distractions and get alone with God and my Bible. It seemed like I lived this week at a constant race pace and I was beginning to stress myself out to the maximum. The end of the year can be rough and even rougher are the unknowns about planning for a new school year (especially when a wrench has been thrown into your supposed plan.)

For me the urge to get alone with God can sometimes go unfulfilled due to a busy schedule and constantly having a toddler in tow, but I’ve had enough! No more putting off the time I need for myself to grow closer to God for some planned activity or event. I focused on what really mattered and got myself secluded and alone with God.

On my way home from work I organized my essentials. I had my Bible, journal, pens, and stopped at my favorite drive thru for the essential coffee 🙂 I drove to a serene and quiet location, rolled down the windows, and turned off the radio. I had aimed at creating the best atmosphere for myself to really listen to God without the worry of being distracted. With a few moments to spare before needing to relieve the baby sitter I sat in the presence of God.

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At first I was quiet. I waited for God to prompt my heart with a thought and direction. Once I felt like God had given me a clear purpose for this encounter I began a journey through the scriptures. Some were scriptures I felt him calling me to and others came from using the tools in my Bible and Bible app (She Reads Truth) to guide me. After I read through God’s Word and how it aligned with my current circumstance and subject I talked to God about my life.

I guess I should just come right out and say that God was calling me to re-examine the Gospel. For too long I’ve been living as if the Gospel is not the GOOD NEWS that its name refers to. I’ve been burdening myself which keeps me from experiencing the freedom of grace. I’ve allowed myself to view the Gospel as something that I don’t need a daily reminder of when in actuality the only healthy way to see the Gospel is to remember its purpose and impact DAILY.

What is the Gospel? The Gospel loosely means, The GOOD NEWS. This news is that while we are still sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Our sinfulness had separated us from God, but God sent His Son who was blameless to receive our guilt so that we could have a relationship with God and the opportunity to enter into eternity with our Father in Heaven (John 3:16)

Why did God do this? God did not choose to save me or anyone else because of anything we had done. Just like everyone else I am a screw up. I’ve never done anything to earn my welcome into God’s family except accepting that gift. Jesus never said that He came for those who had their life together, read their Bibles, went to church every Sunday, had only Christian friends, and never used curse words…luckily for me! On the contrary in Matthew 9:12-13 Jesus says that he came for the sick and the sinners. Amen, because that’s me!

God sent His Son to give us an example of true love and to give us hope in a broken and lost world. Lately, I’ve done a terrible job remembering the Gospel. It is so fundamental to the life of every Christian, but it is all too often overlooked. We zero-in on our current circumstances or get stressed out about things of no consequence and neglect the joy that should be present at all times in our lives. Instead of claiming Christ and His victory in my life I’ve been claiming defeat and accepting failure.

During this encounter God really dealt with my heart and showed me ways that I am allowing my own anxiety to steal my joy and rob me of the peace that accepting the Gospel is all about. The beauty of the Gospel is that once you’ve repented and been forgiven the sin is done. You don’t have to continue on sinning or fear that you’ve fallen so far that God can’t help you. I no longer need to live defeated or battle with the anxiety that weighs me down. Because I have accepted Christ the Spirit lives within me and I need only to allow Him to work in my life. I need to surrender control of my life and trust God and His ways for me.

One way I have resolved to encounter God more in ways like I did this week is by committing to a Bible reading plan. After quite some time sifting through reading plans on the internet I found one that seemed appealing. I won’t lie, I’ve been down this road before. God has convicted me that I haven’t been making the Bible a huge priority so I set out to fulfill some version of “The Bible in a Year” plan. With good intentions I begin the plan, but after an illness, trip, or busy day I fall behind and accept defeat. This time around I’m going a different route. Being an avid reader, English teacher, and one with a minor in Bible I decided to try an genre based reading plan. If I can maintain the pace I should be able to read through the entire Bible in one year, but if it takes me longer it won’t kill me. The difference about this plan is that each day you are reading something different than the day before. The daily plans are based on different genres so one day you may read a Psalm excerpt, while the next the focus may be on prophetic literature. I find this appealing because it first of all keeps my attention and second of all exposes me to various types of writings in one week.

With this being the beginning of my summer vacation I think that there is no better time to try out some sort of reading plan. I found this reading plan on a blog by a man named Alex Tran. I am nearly a week in and I love it! God is already teaching me so much and my life is beginning to resemble joy and peace once more. If you are convicted or in the market for a Bible plan please check out some of the Bible plans and options listed on Alex’s site. Here is a look at the plan I am doing, but he has an article titled, 23 Reading Plans to Satisfy Anyone.

Genre Reading Plan:


Please share how the Gospel has affected your perspective and any Bible Reading plans that have worked for you!


Coffee and Colossians 3

Today was Day 1 in the new Bible study: 1+2 Timothy via the She Reads Truth App. (Sidenote: I love this app. It is an online daily devotional written by women and specifically geared toward keeping busy women in the Word everyday) Each day, the studies include a couple of short passages to read and a short lesson that goes along with the reading. I am a big fan of the daily artwork that captures the essence of the lesson. If you are using the app, you can download  the artwork for free and either post them via social media or save them to your device. It is quite convenient and I love it.

Over the past couple of months it has been a true struggle to find alone time to read my Bible and pray. I’ve looked over my schedule and routines and tried to find the best place to insert a few minutes to read the scriptures. It has never been a matter of not wanting to read the Bible, in fact it is the exact opposite. I look forward to my time in the Word. I crave time in the Word. But sometimes a few minutes alone just doesn’t happen for me.

As I reviewed my daily habits I found that one thing I do everyday without wavering is drink a cup of coffee in the morning. Alone or not I make time for coffee. Tired or not I make time for coffee. Busy or not I make time for coffee. Therein lies my solution. If I can make time every morning despite my hectic schedule and lack of sleep to drink a cup of coffee then surely I can do the same for reading the Bible. The flesh in me recognizes my own dependency on coffee and I take care of that need before moving forward with my day. EVERY DAY. How is it that I have not seen this before? Just like my physical body requires and deserves that warm, rich, liquid energy every morning, ALL of me requires and deserves some time alone in the Word.

I’ve begun to pair my Bible reading with my coffee consumption every morning. Some days it is as simple as completing the She Reads Truth study for the day and other days I take a longer coffee break so I read a little more. I don’t know when I started treating Bible study like it wasn’t a necessity.  It is actually one of the MOST NECESSARY things I could ever do for myself. When I don’t take the time and read God’s Words I quickly lose my battle for my mind and attention. I focus on myself and my circumstances and I lose sight of who I am and why I’m here. Life isn’t about all these things with which I fill my time. Life is about doing all I can to further God’s Kingdom and if I don’t realign my thinking everyday I tend to lose focus.

I am going to leave you with some thoughts from today’s empowering scripture reading which She Reads Truth has paired with 1 Timothy 1. This particular study describes the context of 1+2 Timothy and then uses Colossians 3 as a reference to living a gospel-filled life.

Context: 1 +2 Timothy were letters written by Paul to Timothy. Timothy was a young leader in the early church. Yes, a lot of the text involves structuring and building that early church, but the emphasis is also on the importance of living life according to the gospel. Paul often speaks to Timothy in a paternal manner about making sure he is focusing on living a life that brings God glory.

Colossians 3:2- Set your mind on things above not earthly things.

Colossians 3: 10b- …put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Colossians 3: 12- Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3: 16- Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God.