We see the day coming but we are no more ready to face the King of Kings and the Lords of Lords than they were in Joel’s day. We sit in our padded pews and “mourn” the sinfulness of our nation but ignore the subtle sins in our own hearts. Our nation will not “turn and repent” until they see that living for God looks different than the rest of the world.
When we look in the mirror of the Ten Commandments, what do we see? Is it righteousness or self-righteousness? Does reading this list cause us to fall on our knees in true repentance like the prophet Isaiah did when he saw the Lord in the temple?
Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Challenge to Examine Your Heart
I challenge you to read down the list of commandments. Ask God to show you where you have failed him. If you don’t see any failure, read it again. And then again. Slow down, read slowly, and consider the subtle things that Satan has blinded you from.
How much time do you spend with God? 5 minutes a day? Do you have a quiet time? study the Word?
What have you placed above God? Job, Success, family, sports?
Do you treat the Sabbath just like every other day of the week?
What ways do you honor your parents?
Have you stolen anything lately? Extra time at lunch? office supplies? Have you robbed from God, by withholding tithes and offerings?
Do you lie and cheat to climb the ladder of success? Do you gossip in the guise of a prayer request?
Are you jealous of those who have more than you?
Hmmm… I wonder why people want nothing to do with Christianity.
Yes. We are all sinners
It’s true. None of us are righteous. We are all worthless and separated from God. Even King David who was considered “a man after God’s own heart” sinned. And he sinned BIG!
The size of the sin is not what matters. What matters is our response when we see that we have sinned against God. This week I wrote at Gracefully Truthful about David’s response when he was confronted with his sin. Click the purple image to read.
Let’s take a look at the words of the prophet, Joel. He said if we repent, maybe God in His Mercy will forgive us and visit us once more. Let’s check it out.
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him;
True Repentance requires more than just “I’m sorry”. It produces change, a turning away from sin. Too often our apologies are not sincere. We are more sorry that we were caught than mournful of our sin. We say “I’m sorry” but we don’t turn from our wicked ways. There must be a change of heart and life. If it is real, the change will be noticeable.
Seek His Face
Many times God says in His Word if we seek Him, we will find Him. Right smack in the middle of the Bible is Psalm 119. It’s a poem using each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The entire chapter is all about seeking God and meditating on His Word. Start here in your search for God.
Don’t just read a quick devotion or a few verses and go on your way. Think about what it says and how it applies to you. Ask God to show you why that particular passage is there for you. What can you learn? If you need help with this, I would suggest the online study Gracefully Truthful or try the First Five phone app which studies a chapter a day. This and many others are free online. There are also some great Bible apps for your phone.
Also, invite His Holy Spirit to take full control of your life. Consider your heart as a house. When you ask the Lord into your heart when you are saved, He comes in. But do you only allow him to stay in your living room? Do you allow him into your kitchen? your bedroom? closet? attic or basement? God wants it all. He wants full control. And until we surrender it all to Him, we are still the one in the driver’s seat. We aren’t in full obedience to God.
Fast Weep Mourn
fast – Abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion. Today, some will fast other things they “can’t” live without. The importance is that you use this time for prayer.
weep –To express sorrow, grief or anguish by outcry.
mourn – The Greek word used for mourn is “pentheo,” which means to “wail or passionately lament, grief so all-encompassing it cannot be hidden.” The same word is used in Mark 16:10 to describe the emotions of Jesus’ followers after His crucifixion, a soul-deep sorrow.
2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation.” Thus, it is a necessary mourning, required for us to reach a place of complete repentance before God.
Honestly consider, have you been truly repentant for your sins?For the sins of the nation? Regrettably, I doubt that most of us have. In Bible times, people would tear (rend) their clothing in remorse. But sometimes this became just a show. (like the Pharisees) Try Anne Graham Lotz’s prayer from the National Day of Prayer. You can find it on her website here.
What rituals are you doing by habit or just showing off your spirituality? I’m reminded of the Pharisees praying, “Thank you, that I am not like them.” We need humility and true sorrow as we pray. This is what Joel meant by “rend your hearts, and not your clothes”
Let’s come to God with a broken and contrite heart as David did in Psalm 51. He was a picture of true repentance.
This summer (2020) Susie Larson is offering a free online study of her latest book, Fully Alive. This was such a helpful book for me, so I decided to repost this review. She is offering the book for only $10 [CODE: FAITHRADIO] and the study is free! Sign up at the end of this post.
NOTE: I received this book at no charge in exchange for writing this review. These words are my own opinion and I have not been compensated to say them.
Dare to Hope again
Have you been losing your hope lately? What is it that is pulling you down into
Earthquakes. Raging Fires. Hurricanes, Flooding, Food Shortages, Pandemic diseases. Riots in the Streets. When does it stop Lord?
If you love us wouldn’t you save us from these evil times?
You are mighty to save, we know you can do it. [Zephaniah 3:17]
Where is God when you need Him?
God IS a Mighty God
It is true. God is a mighty God. His mightiness is seen in the heavens. [Psalm 19:1] With a word, He created the heavens and the earth. [Genesis 1] While in space, Astronaut John Glenn said, “To look at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is impossible”.
Throughout the Bible, we read about God using His might to save the people. He destroyed evil with a flood; He saved the Israelites from Egypt with His might by sending plagues and finally led the people through the Red Sea, drowning the Egyptian army. Then He walked in the fire with the Hebrew children saving their lives and showing His might.
Again and Again, He showed up with great power. So why not now?
He Sent Jesus to Save us
The prophet Isaiah pronounced that God would send a savior, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6-7]
Consequently, the Israelites expected the Messiah to come as Mighty God, a warrior to overthrow their enemies and to set up His Kingdom. But God had something different in mind. The Messiah came humble, meek, and mild. The Israelites could not grasp this plan of God.
God’s Ultimate Plan to Save
The Mighty God indeed had the power to set up His kingdom at that time. With just a Word, He calmed the seas, healed the sick, and raised the dead; however, these miracles were only to show us that He was indeed Mighty God. This was not His ultimate purpose.
What man really needed was not a rescue from slavery and tyranny. It was not for better health or wealth or to even have “peace on earth”. What man really needed was redemption from sin.
God showed up in all His might that Easter morning when He raised Jesus up from the grave, defeating the power of sin and death.
Ugh! This has always been a challenge for me. What about you?
I recall all my life being told that journaling was a good practice to get into. You may not believe this but I’ve always been a gal of few words. I was the one in my family of 8 growing up to just sit back and listen, not having much to add to the conversation. At school, teachers complained that I did not participate in class. I just didn’t see the need.
I never even had a diary as a young girl. I tried several times, but I would sit down and nothing came to mind. And if it did I didn’t dare write it down where someone might find it and read it. I tried, when my daughter was a baby, to write down the different events and funny stories. And there were a lot. I made a fabric-covered journal and started out with her week-long stay in the hospital with jaundice. That journal has about three pages written in it.
After being struck with chronic pain, I was again challenged to journal my experience so that I could share about it later. I didn’t do it at the time but about 5 years in, I starting blogging. I basically wrote about my Journey with Chronic Pain.
I really can’t even do a good job of keeping a health journal, which I really need to do with all the things I have going on. And, of course, a food journal would be really helpful. But, again, I last about two weeks and that’s the end of that.
But finally, I have seemed to find a place where I enjoy journaling and keep at it. That is Bible Journaling. Most of my journaling with Bible study still falls closer to copying scripture but writing out scriptures has made them so much more real for me.
My routine when studying and journaling goes somewhat like this:
Read the scripture, possibly in two or three different versions. While I read, I pay attention to particular scriptures that are most meaningful to me. There are probably thousands of reading plans to follow. And there are more than I know bloggers that offer there own monthly reading plans. I recommend Arabah Joy’s reading plans which are free just for following her blog.
Write out the meaningful (to me) portion of scripture.
On the second day, go back and re-read the scripture this time with a highlighter. There are several systems you can use which assign colors to themes. Download one of these or create your own. I recently received Lo Tanner’s Bible Study Key for free. She is hosting a NKJV Journal the Word Bible Giveaway all this month (June 2020)
If you love to draw or doodle, be sure to learn about Bible Journaling with art. The above-mentioned journal Bible is created for this. It gives you lots of room in the margins for pictures and doodles; but, then again, you could use the space for notes too! If you are new to this type of journaling, go to The Holy Mess and sign up for a little training and click here for some printables.
We’ve been talking about reading the scriptures. Let’s take it a step further and study the scriptures. When I was a young adult, I was challenged to start spending more time in the Word. Start with five minutes and increase it as you go. What I found, before long, I was spending an hour or more each day reading and studying the Word and loving every minute of it. And the Words have become a part of my life.
Susan Annete Muto states,
Our Spiritual life is refreshed whenever we take the time to savor these timeless values. They become a living part of who we are. The text is like a bridge between the limits of our life here and now and the possibilities awaiting us if we open our minds and hearts to God.
Pathways of Spiritual Living
Making Habits is Difficult
Habits always hard to get started but once we do, it really isn’t all that hard. Find the best time to do some scripture reading. It will refresh your life. Here are a few ideas:
Rise 15 minutes earlier. Start small with even just 5 minutes. And then increase it as you can. I like reading in the morningbecause it stays with me for the rest of the day. It seems to make my day go better.
Read during your lunch hour. Find a quiet spot where you won’t get interrupted. Go out to your car; up to your bedroom, or even the bathroom.
First thing when you get home from work. Sit down in your lounge chair and enjoy a few minutes with the Lord. If you have family, stop off at the park and read for a bit before arriving home. It might refresh your mind and help your leave work at the office.
At the dinner table. This is actually a great time to have family devotions. After all, you need spiritual food just as much as you need physical food.
At bedtime. This is a good way to remove all the crud out of our minds. It helps us have a good night’s rest.
Let the Scriptures Sink in. Study it.
Listen to it – There are many sources available now to listen to God’s Word. For some of us, we do better when we hear instruction then trying to read it. You could download the reading of the Word and listen to it on your way to and from work. I recently read from a fellow blogger that she started following along while she listened and it revolutionized her Bible Reading. Most Bible apps which I shared earlier, offer reading the word aloud.
Scripture – Read the scripture carefully. Maybe write the scripture out in your journal.
Observe – Consider what stands out to you? What questions do you have?
Apply – How does the scripture apply to your life? Journal it.
Kneel – Talk to God about changes you need to make or claiming the promise.
Hear God’s Voice – I love to use Ann Graham Lotz’s journaling study guide. You can go to AnGeL Ministries for a video lesson but here’s the short of it. And remember, you don’t have to do a whole chapter. It could just be a verse or two.
Write it Out
What does it Mean
What Does it Mean TO ME?
Online studies. Just ask around and find one that works for you. Reading and studying the Bible really will make your life happier and fuller. Arabah Joy offers excellent reading plans ever month. Follow her blog for some great guidance.
Proverbs 31 Ministries. You can join them online with great book studies by awesome authors like Lysa Terkhurst. This summer they will study one of my favorite authors, Wendy Pope’s new book, Hidden Potential. You can sign up now for more information. Or download the free app, First Five, and read a chapter a day – five days a week.
Gracefully Truthful – I found this online study last year and have thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so, that, not only am I studying with them every day I have become a writer for them. This is an online Bible Study for women using strictly the Bible. There is no cost.
Let’s Get Started Studying!
Come by next week and we will talk ” the joy of journaling”.
1 How happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk according to the Lord’s instruction! 2 Happy are those who keep his decrees and seek him with all their heart. 3 They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. 4 You have commanded that your precepts be diligently kept. 5 If only my ways were committed to keeping your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed when I think about all your commands. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart when I learn your righteous judgments. 8 I will keep your statutes; never abandon me.
Those Who Read the Scriptures Regularly are Happy People
Scripture. Scripture. Scripture.
I can’t tell you enough how important it is to be in the Word of God daily. You may say, but Mandy, I just don’t have the time. But may I submit to you that you have plenty of time. You may have to give up a little sleep or some Facebook Time or maybe a little TV. But, as the Psalmist said, you will be so much happier and you won’t even notice the sacrifice. Let’s commit to reading the scriptures.
His Ways are Blameless
Have you ever been in trouble for something that you didn’t even know was wrong? It happened once to me in elementary school. The assignment was given when I was out sick. So when I returned and didn’t have the work done, I found myself writing out pages of “I will obey the rules.”
Maybe you got stopped for speeding but you didn’t see the speed limit sign. I’m sure that we have all been in a situation like this. And I am sure you weren’t too happy.
We can say we didn’t know but the truth is, we have allowed ourselves to be ignorant of the rules. It is still our own fault. When we stand before our creator, He will ask why we haven’t obeyed His law. “I didn’t know” will NOT be an acceptable excuse.
Make sure you know the rules. Pretty simple. And how do we know the rules? Reading the Scriptures. Study them. Memorize them. Today let’s start with reading the scriptures.
Maintain at all costs a daily time of Scripture reading and prayer. As I look back, I see that the most formative influence in my life and thought has been my daily contact with Scripture over 60 years.
from Frank Gaebelein: Character Before Career”
Scriptures Should be the Center of Life
Psalm 119 is an acrostic using the Hebrew letters of the alphabet. The Psalmist alphabetically speaks of the benefits of God’s Word by having each stanza major on a particular topic. The main theme of this chapter is God’s Word being front and center in David’s life. This chapter has 176 verses. It is the longest chapter of the Bible and I find it interesting that this chapter happens to be right in the center of the entire Bible. Coincidence? I think not.
I have treasured Your Word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.
Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
We recognize God’s Voice. We can know that God is speaking to us because we know the things He would say.
His Word is like a mirror, showing us the good AND the evil in our lives.
It calls us to salvation and holiness.
It revolutionizes our life. We become more and more aware of God’s instruction thus, it changes our life.
What is the best way to read the Bible?
The best way is whatever way works for you. I waver between reading an actual Bible right on my lap and reading from an app on my phone of kindle.
First, I want my family to know and see that I am reading the Scriptures. If I am reading from an app, who knows what I am reading? And later, after I am gone, will they see the notes and highlights in my app? I think that I am leaving a better legacy for them by reading from the written Word.
However, an app takes up no extra space. It’s not heavy and is likely with you wherever you go. If I’m sitting in the doctor’s office or waiting in line to pick up my child from school, my Bible is there waiting for me to take 5 minutes to read. It also provides many versions which I find advantageous. Therefore, I find myself going back and forth between the two.
Preferred Versions of the Scriptures
Many still love to hold on to the King James Version (KJV). The KJV is a wonderful version to read. I find it very poetic. and Since it is what I grew up with, most of what I have memorized is in this version. The New KJV is wonderful. The translators have removed all the Thee’s and Thou’s.
The church I attend has embraced the New International Version which is a more updated English version. It’s a bit more understandable being in modern English.
My absolute favorite at this time is the New Living Translation. The NLT is translated beautifully into Modern English. Many find it very understandable. Different from the Living Bible which is a paraphrase – Someone’s interpretation of the Bible.
Another paraphrase that is well-liked and reads with modern lingo is The Message. Both of these paraphrases are excellent reads and give a great interpretation. They are great for storytelling and even for help in understanding.
A Few Scripture Apps you May Like
There are many possibilities for download on your phone or computer. These are a few I have used. These offer several version options and reading plans. Some offer devotional plans and even books. I’ll give you the links and you can research further to find what works best for you.
It is often asked, “Why is God so angry in the Old Testament and so loving in the New Testament?” But if we look closely we will find that God shows a lot of love in the Old Testament. And indeed, we can find His anger in the New as well. So possibly, we need to understand the difference between God’s wrath and man’s anger.
Let’s Dig into God’s Wrath vs. Man’s Anger
Man’s wrath most often comes from being wronged or misunderstood. It is usually motivated by selfishness and focuses on punishing, hurting, or destroying people while perpetuating, or justifying one’s own sin and selfishness.
God’s Word says, “…the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”. (James 1:19-20) Notice the connection between understanding and anger found in Proverbs 17:27, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”
The wrath of God is righteous anger. It is “revealed from heaven” (verse 18). God is holy and righteous, and He cannot be in the presence of sin and evil. He is angered at the evil ways man has chosen to follow while He upholds all that is right and just. He is angered because He loves His people deeply, but sin has separated Him from mankind. (Isaiah 59:2)
Man’s Attempt to Live a Pure Life
Under the law of the Old Testament, man could not live a righteous life because they would always fail to perfectly keep the whole law. The law reminded them daily of their sin. They felt the guilt and the wrath of God every time they broke the law.
Every year they would return to the temple with sacrifices to atone for their sin as they asked God to forgive them. But it didn’t stick because the blood of animals can never atone for sin completely, only a perfect sacrifice could do that. (Hebrews 10:4) Sin and its guilt always returned. (Hebrews 10:2-4)
But under grace in the New Testament, there is forgiveness once and for all because Christ, as the perfect sacrifice, gave Himself for us. (Hebrews 9:26) There is no condemnation for our sins when we are in Christ! (Romans 8:1-4)
Christ, the High Priest, has opened the way for us to be completely forgiven, once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10-14) Because of this Covenant of Grace, God’s love seems more prominent than His Righteous anger.
Do you have questions about God and the Bible? Follow the Questions study at Gracefully Truthful this month for some answers. If you would like to dig deeper on the subject of God’s anger, continue reading my post at Gracefully Truthful Online Bible Studies for Women this week under the theme – Questions. My study will continue on Thursday, March 5th on GT.
When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, he launched into the longest sermon ever recorded. At the beginning of that sermon are what we know as The Beatitudes. My husband recently preached a sermon from Matthew 5:3-12, and he stated,
The Beatitudes are “holy attitudes for living the Christian life.”
v. 3: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Poor in spirit: humble. A servant knows that they are reliant on God. The desire to serve God by serving others comes from the love that God pours into our hearts. The more we allow, the more he bestows!
v. 4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
We tend to link this verse with earthly sorrow and mourning for a loved one who has died. But consider the sorrow that comes because of separation from God because of our sin? Sorrow for our sin brings us into the comforting arms of Jesus.
v.5: Blessed are the meed, for they shall inherit the earth.
Jesus was meek, but not weak. Meekness is not spinelessness. It’s humility. Meekness is knowing that you need God.
v. 6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
How intense is our hunger and thirst for God? How much do we desire to be more like Jesus, to have more and more of His love filling us? Until we know that what we are seeking is God himself, we will not be satisfied.
v. 7: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Where would we be without God’s love, mercy and grace? Where would we be? When Jesus taught what we know as “The Golden Rule, (love your neighbor as yourself), He was teaching simple mercy.
v. 8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
A pure heart is an unselfish heart, a heart with pure motives, a heart like Christ. The more we can truly be like Christ, the more likely we are to bring others to Him.
v. 9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
The only way to truly have peace is through Christ. Even when we get that peace, Satan will try to steal it or disturb it. We should seek peace in Jesus, and we should let Him be our peace.
v. 10: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
v. 11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
We read, hear and see stories of Christians persecuted for their faith. These persecutions range from “no public prayer” to execution for your faith (depending on where you are in the world.) We must stay strong in our faith. Jesus told His disciples that this would happen, and sure enough, it does!
But Jesus also said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)
v. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Being persecuted for our faith is nothing new. It has happened since the old testament prophets were proclaiming their faith in God.
Finally, Our hope is in Christ.
My point in all of this is a simple one:
If we live according to God’s Holy Word,
… follow the teachings of Christ,
… accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior,
then WE ARE BLESSED.
No matter what each day of life brings,
joy or sorrow,
good or bad,
in abundance or in want,
we are so blessed because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Count your blessings, and have a great day!
It’s Your Turn!
Add a link to your post about Leaving a Legacy. We’re looking forward to reading it.
I stood there confused before our two boys as they each wove their own tale about what caused their most recent altercation. New at this mothering thing, I acted on my own determination to always listen to all sides of the story before deciding on who received punishment. It was something I determined back when I felt I was being unfairly punished.
But I was fast learning that this plan led only to more confusion and lies. I wasn’t able to sift through their stories and find the truth at all. Their stories were not matching up. There was little truth to be found.
I don’t think I ever really figured out how to get to the bottom of things between the boys. They used both paid the penalty though sometimes the truth could be seen by looking in their eyes.
Oh, the Tangled Web
Today’s society seems to weave the same kind of tales to catch us in their web of deceit in order to have their own way and to justify the life they want to lead. It’s nearly impossible now to find the truth anywhere. Certainly, not in the media and sometimes, not even from smooth talking preachers who like to bend the Word of God for their own advantage. The Bible warns us against such.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
So, where do we look for the Truth?
1. Turn to God
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
King Solomon knew where to find wisdom. He was now the new King of Israel. And the first thing he did was ask God for Wisdom. God made him the wisest king ever and gave him much more for having his priorities straight. We need to follow Solomon’s example. Pray for wisdom.
“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”
As Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus, I pray Christ gives you spiritual wisdom that you may grow in your faith and knowledge of Him. I pray your heart remains humble and teachable and that you always look to Jesus as your wisdom.
2. Seek Wise & Godly Counsel
These are the ones from whom we should be asking godly counsel. I’d start with your pastor, your parents. or church leaders and then from books written by godly leaders who won’t lead you astray.
Be careful about the books you read. Be certain that the author is credible in the area in which you need wisdom. Again, ask trusted leaders which authors they trust. Some author’s reputation goes before them and there is no doubt. For instance, I doubt that you would worry about being led astray by Rev. Billy Graham.
As you read and study, pray each time and ask God for His guidance. Ask God to raise up flags if there are questionable thoughts and attitudes. He will lead you in the right direction.
Nancy wrote the first edition of this book ten years ago. But things have changed a lot and she wanted to speak on those changes and in some cases more clearly share her thoughts based on Biblical precepts.
45 Lies Exposed
Nancy exposes 45 lies that woman are accepting hook, line, and sinker today by bringing out scriptures that tell us the TRUTH. She divides them into several categories.
Lies about trusting God
Seeing Myself as God Sees Me
Understanding God’s Design for Sexuality (a completely new section written with the help of author Dannah 0resh)
Lies about Honoring God in My Marriage
Dealing With Circumstances
Walking in Freedom
Extensive Coverage of Satan’s Lies
As you can see, Nancy has covered it all rather extensively. And I would submit that the first topic of trusting God probably gets right to the basic problem. We don’t trust God with our lives. Do we REALLY believe that God is Good and that He loves us implicitly? Can we REALLY be complete in God?
Nancy will take you through the scriptures and prove point by point that Satan is a liar and the author of confusion. She will present to you the TRUTH and back it all up with God’s Word.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.
What Lies Are You Believing?
It’s likely that there is a chapter or two here for you. You may be surprised at which lies you have swallowed whole. I would encourage you to pick up this updated and expanded version of her book and start reading it soon.
Oh, and be sure to purchase the workbook along with it. This will help you go deep into The Word and Find the “Truth That Sets You Free”.
Finding the Truth in Him;
P.S. Have you read my other Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth book review?
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There are many different methods to study the Bible. There are also several acronym methods that are similar to each other but all have the same end result: an effective Bible study. Let me help you walk through one method of study so you can dig in deep in the Word for yourself.
If you’re not sure about Bible study, whether it is something you should be doing, you can read 8 Benefits of Regular Bible Study. This should help you understand the importance of Bible study for your spiritual growth.
So, if you’ve been wondering how to study the Bible for yourself, then you’ve come to the right place!
Various Bible Study Methods
Let’s take a quick peek at some of the Bible study methods that are out there. You may recognize some of these, if not in title, then in the description:
The Survey Method is like a panoramic broad view of the Book that you’re studying. You learn about the author or main character, the geography, the era, the theme and important topics.
The Topical Method is like many of the Bible study books you see in Christian bookstores. It focuses on a specific topic and explores the whole Bible on that topic.
The Biographical Method is a biography of a Biblical character, like David, for instance, and studies all about him, what kind of man he was and what he did that made him so well-known.
The Word Study Method is a study of words or terms that may be unfamiliar to readers, like, redemption, propitiation, sin, the blood of the Lamb, etc. Tools used for this type of study would be a concordance and a Bible dictionary to help you dig deep.
The Devotional Method is more of a devotional time than a technical study. You read a portion of text, the devotion based on that text as well as an end with a simple prayer. This is probably a method that you have heard of or maybe even used before.
The Expositional Method is studying the Bible verse-by-verse. This is more familiarly known as the Inductive Bible Study Method. It uses the three elements of Observation, Interpretation, and Application.
Of these six methods, I most often use the Topical, Word, and Expositional Methods. I would love to work on a Survey study sometime, maybe of the Minor Prophets since they would be suited to a panoramic survey.
How Deep Do You Want to Study?
That’s a great question, how deep do you want to study? How effective do you want your Bible study to be?
A couple of questions to consider are, do you want to let someone teach you the Word or do you want to learn for yourself?
If you want to hear someone else lead a study, like in a women’s study group, for example, you would read the assigned work and then listen to the study leader. You would respond to the questions and possibly turn the pages of your Bible to find the answers. You may even write down notes as you go along.
Will you learn from this method? Sure you will but if you’re like me, you may quickly forget what you learned from it.
Now, if you want to go deeper in your Bible study, and if you want your study to be effective, you will need to do the research.
Effective Bible study means you dig into the truth for yourself.
When you use the Bible tools to find the answers, you will remember what you’ve learned so much more than listening to someone else teach it.
You see, when others present Bible studies to you, they’ve done the research and dug into the Word to find what they want to teach. They reap the rewards of an in-depth study but you, the listener, not so much.
That’s the kind of study you want to do, dig deep for yourself, right?
So, how do you do this?
Tools for Effective Bible Study
To study deep, you’ll need some tools. Let’s look at what they are first, then we’ll go over the “how to study” part.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. This is a great reference book to have on your bookshelf. You can use other concordances as well but as far as I know, this one is the most complete one on the market.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. This reference is invaluable. It gives a great explanation of the original meanings, whether it’s Hebrew or Greek.
The New Bible Commentary, Revised. This is a one-volume book and is very handy to have. However, you may have other commentaries that are just as helpful.
These are my top ‘go-to’ reference books on my bookshelf. Some others that I use are:
Nave’s Topical Bible
Zondervan Handbook to the Bible
The New Strong’s Dictionary of Bible Words
Commentary on the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Frusset, Brown
Do you know where I bought many of my hard copy reference books? Thrift shops, Bible store second-hand section, second-hand stores, etc. People are no longer keeping their hard copies of these amazing reference books. Possibly they received them in inheritances and just don’t feel they need them. But, I do, so I’m blessed with them!
If it isn’t feasible to have hard copy books, then have you considered the Blue Letter Bible or Bible Gateway? They have excellent resources, commentaries, tools, everything you would need to do a comprehensive study. I sometimes use them but I do prefer my hard copy books. There’s just something about turning the pages of a physical book, you know?
Some other tools you will need before you get started with your next great study are:
A good pen
Quality colour pencils and a pencil sharpener
A Bible you can mark in that has a wide margin for notes
A variety of colour Micron pens with archival ink that won’t bleed through thin pages
A large 5×7 inch index card for developing a keyword list
If you don’t want to mark up your favourite Bible, you can always check the thrift stores or second-hand stores for a Bible. Or, you can print out the book you want to study from an online source like Bible Gateway. I usually paste the content into Word, then enlarge the font size to something I can read.
So, let’s talk about the “how to” part of an effective Bible study now.
Getting Started with an In-depth Study
Remember I mentioned the method that I use the most, the Expositional Method, otherwise known as the Inductive Method? Let’s look at how that works. Once you have this figured out, you’ll be able to apply these principles to either the Topical Study or Word Study Methods.
First, the thing you should always do before starting any kind of Bible activity is, begin with prayer. I know you knew that!
Step 2 – decide on a book study
Decide which Bible book you are going to study. If this is your first time using this method, you may want to start with a short book like Jude or Philemon. They each contain 25 verses so it would be a great introduction to the Inductive Study Method.
Step 3 – identify keywords
You’ll need your additional tools, listed above.
Read through the text a few times and note if there are any keywords that stand out to you. Write them on the index card.
Label this index card with the Book Name Keywords, ie, Philemon Keywords. You can use this card as a bookmark later on.
As you are reading the text, you may see words that you are not familiar with, especially if you’re using the King James Version. Though it doesn’t matter what version you use, there are words that need further discovery.
For example, you may see “sound doctrine” or “healing” or “salvation” and wonder about the original meaning. This is the time to crack open those research books to see what the writer originally meant.
So often in the various translations, the original meaning is lost. When we read it, we apply today’s English to the meaning which throws us off in our theology.
So, it doesn’t matter what the word is, if you take the few minutes to look up the original meaning, you will gain a whole lot.
Step 4 – identify the author and recipients
The best thing to do is always start with the WHO. Who wrote the book and WHO is/are the recipient(s).
Refer to the Kari King Dent reference for marking keywords to decide on how you will mark the Author and the Recipients. Once you decide that, you can identify it on your index card, similar to what you see on Kari’s keyword list.
Now, as you read the text, mark the Author and the Recipient. Make sure these markings are distinctive from each other.
In addition to marking the Author and Recipients, you need to also mark the pronouns and any synonyms.
Once you have these two people clearly marked, it will be easy to see who is who as you observe the rest of the text.
Step 5 – observe what is in the text
Read through the text again and ask yourself the 5W and H questions. They are, who, what, where, when, why and how.
So, as you read the text, ask yourself some questions like
who is writing this book?
who is he writing to?
why is he writing to this person or group of people?
what is happening or going to happen?
when is it happening?
where is this taking place or will take place?
how will this event take place?
As you are finding the answers, make note of anything noteworthy in your notebook. Include the address, which is the chapter and verse. This helps when you are looking at your notebook, later on, to know where that answer came from.
Step 6 – mark the keywords
Now the fun begins. You already identified the keywords in Step 3, so now you will read through the text again to mark them. But, let’s do this in order.
Before you start marking, you need to decide on a symbol. Use the Kari King Dent reference file to help you come up with creative ways to mark keywords. You can use her symbols or you can make up your own.
Why do we do this? Well, the main reason is to have continuity between all the books of the Bible that you will study. When you decide on a symbol for “God,” you will always mark it the same from book to book. So, when you are flipping through the pages of your Bible and you see symbols, the “God” symbol will always be the same and therefore, recognizable.
Now, focus on the first keyword that you identified. Read through the text again to look for that keyword. When you find it, mark it with the symbol you decided on. Make sure it is on your index card first so you don’t forget what it is.
Read the text again for each keyword, marking it as you go along.
For each keyword you identified, you will read the text and mark it. This means that if you identified 10 keywords, then you will read the text at least 10 times to mark each of those words.
Interpret to Discover the Meaning
Once you have finished marking all the keywords, you are ready to interpret the meaning of the text. Make sure though that you are using Scripture to help you interpret and not what you think it means.
Thinking outside of Scripture can get you in trouble with your theology. That’s how false teaching starts. So, as you are interpreting the text, ensure that you are keeping everything in context.
What’s context? It is interpreting the text in light of the surrounding verses, and the entire Word of God.
You can ask yourself some questions to help you with your interpretation.
is my interpretation consistent with the theme or purpose of the book?
is it consistent with other Scripture that contains the same subject or theme?
am I considering historic and cultural context?
Keep in mind that Scripture will never contradict Scripture. So, if you have a different interpretation than other parts of the Bible, you will need to rethink your interpretation.
Well, that’s one way to have an effective Bible study that has you digging in deep. This is something that you can do on your own but you don’t have to.
If you would like to join other women who are starting out with this method, feel free to join us over on Facebook in my private group called Deeper in God Bible Studies. We have both Writing Challenges and Bible Studies.
The Writing Challenges are either 5 or 10-Day Challenges where we write out whole Books of the Bible. For instance, we’ve written out Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians. We’ll be writing out Philippians from April 1st to 5th.
When the Challenge is finished, we flow right into the Bible Study using my own Study Guides that are available to group members only. There is no charge for either the Writing Challenges or Bible Studies.
That’s a Wrap
Well, that’s a wrap for today. I hope this gets you started on your own in-depth Bible study.
You now know about the various study methods and you know how to study using the Inductive study approach.
Don’t forget that you can join my study group. We’d love to have you! The link is up above.
If you have any questions about how to have an effective Bible study, please leave them in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Who First Read the Bible to You?
Who first made the stories in the Bible come alive? This summer, we are hoping to offer a Link-up Series, Summer of Legacy. We are looking for anyone who would link up a post about someone who helped build your legacy. This could be parents, grandparents, teachers, even a public figure, current or historical or biblical.
Here’s how it will work. You write a post on your own blog. Then on the set week, you come to our website and add a link to your blog. We hope to do one a month, May through August. Each month will have a particular theme. Presently, we are considering the following topics.
Legacy Builders: Women
Legacy Builders: Men
Building A Legacy in a Blended Family
Building a Legacy Through Adoption
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