Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How to Study the Bible

How to Study the Bible and ...why reading isn't enough.

Get serious about it!

Grab a notebook and highlighters. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible, either

Grab tools that can help you understand what you are reading, such as concordances, Bible dictionaries, Hebrew-Greek keyword study Bibles, parallel Bibles, etc. (You can actually find many resources for these tools for FREE online at sites like biblehub and biblegateway.)

Don’t just read a verse and walk away! Ask questions about the background for that verse. Read the surrounding context (verses before and after). Find out the audience that particular book was written to so that you can understand the purpose of the words on the page.

Learn how to do verse-mapping (one of my favorite Bible Study methods!) and other methods of bible study until you find one or two that work best for you.

Here’s why I like Verse Mapping – it makes God’s Word more personal and helps you connect with how God wants to use that verse in your life. You aren’t just reading or memorizing words.  You are interacting with the verse on a whole different level that makes it come alive for you! 

Verse Mapping is a method of studying the historical context, transliteration, translation, connotation and theological framework of a verse in the Bible.
Plain and simple? Verse mapping is getting real about studying the Bible. All of it. It’s not just reading. It’s researching everything you can in a verse to learn more about Who God is, and how He wants to speak to you through His Word. 

So grab some highlighters and colored pens and get started! 

First write your verse on an index card or a clean page in your journal or notebook. Leave plenty of space around it, between the lines and between the words. Then choose some or all of these ideas to work with your verse:      

Personalize it. Cross out words like “you,” “we,” “whoever,” “them” and write your name above it.

Highlight parts of the verse that jump out at you. 

Read the verse in context – the whole chapter or passage where it appears in your Bible.  See how it ties in to the verses before and after it.

Read the verse in at least two other translations. Note on the card words or phrases from other translations that help you understand or apply the verse.  If you don’t have other translations laying around the house, a couple of good resources for several translations are BibleGateway.com, BibleHub.com and YouVersion.com.

Find cross references and note anything that brings new meaning. Cross references are verses that have similar words or phrases. Your Bible may have them listed in the center column or as footnotes at the bottom. The online resources listed previously can also help you find cross references. 

Circle a word or two and do a word study on it.  

Look up the word in your dictionary and see if the definition gives you any insight

Use a topical index and/or concordance in the back of your Bible to find other verses where the word appears

Look up synonyms (same meaning) and antonyms (opposite meaning) in a concordance or online Bible tools site to find other verses.  

We want to be led by the Holy Spirit; we can’t take a step without Him leading the way. So pray. Talk to Him. Listen to worship music and praise Him for as long as you need to. Do whatever works to invite Him into your study space (listen to worship music, close the door, turn off all sound).

This should be time that you spend together— with Him revealing more of who He is to your heart. It’s meant to be personal, and wholly unique to who you are.

Think a New Thought Today…

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Related blog posts:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

No More Dreaming

Created 2 Create

From Dreaming to Doing

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

This verse has been interpreted in negative terms. Take sinful thoughts captive and keep them out of your mind. But that's only half the battle. But if we focus on the negative implications while ignoring the positive possibilities, it becomes a half-truth. It’s also about capturing creative thoughts and keeping them in our minds. Creating to Create is about stewarding every idea inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Every dream is created twice. The first creation is mental. Every invention, every business, every building, every painting is conceived in the right-brain imagination first. It’s nothing more than a single-cell idea at that point. The second creation is physical. You make it obedient to Christ via blood, sweat, and tears.

If your dream is a book, you make it obedient with a keyboard.

If your dream is making music, you make it obedient one note at a time.

Your dreams will never exceed your imagination. You can’t achieve what you don’t believe. So idea generation is important. But idea execution is where the rubber meets the road.

God isn’t going to say, “Well planned, good and faithful servant.” He won’t say well thought, well said, or well strategized either. There is one commendation: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Setting goals is fun and games. Going after them is another matter. Without perspiration to match your inspiration, your dream imagined will turn into a dream deferred.

What do you need to start?

What are you waiting for?

Maybe it’s a diet. Maybe it’s a graduate program. Maybe it’s a church or a business. Whatever it is, the hardest part of finishing is starting. Going after a dream is like riding a bike—you’ve got to get a little momentum to really get going.

Consider this your push.

Where do you stand on the road to execution of your God-given idea?

Be Blessed and be a blessing!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dream Big

Dream Big Expectant Dreams

Along this journey of seeking what it looks like to love God with my entire mind, this is one lesson I need continuously drilled into my hard head.

Stop thinking so small! Stop talking yourself out of believing that God can accomplish the miraculous using your life. Take back the promises and methods of God you have rejected because you thought they couldn’t possibly be meant for you. Take them back by letting go!

God does not call us to small thinking. Small thinking results from a lack of exposure to the Word and a lack of ownership of the Word. Today, let the Word of God speak possibility and limitlessness over you. Maybe you have never given God the opportunity to dream with your life. Maybe you are afraid to take that next step for fear you will be disappointed. Maybe you feel insignificant, convinced small is just your size. Leave it behind. Small thinking limits who we become and what we are able to accomplish in the Lord.

The enemy knows this. He is constantly filling our minds with thoughts and ideas contrary to the Word, and even though they are opposed to the Word of God, these thoughts can make sense to me. They confine possibilities to what I can see. They confirm my own beliefs about my weaknesses. They keep me from loving the Lord with all my mind and restrain me from taking that next step of faith.

Sweet friend, it’s time for you and me to let go of small thinking. God calls His people to tasks and opportunities greater than we can imagine. Ponder the possible ramifications found in your reading this today on your own life.

There is work to be done. Someone with just your personality, with your gifting, in your situation is exactly who God needs to accomplish His will (Ephesians 2:10). Anything He asks you to do is important, purposeful, and significant.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Faith Goals

Setting Goals in Faith

Every time you set a goal, that is a statement of faith.

So you can see how goals stretch your faith. They affirm that you trust God, but they are also statements of how much you trust God. In Matthew 9:29, the Bible says, “According to your faith let it be done to you.”

So, in what area have you neglected to set a goal? In what area of your life do you fear to set a goal?

Friday, January 12, 2018

More than Ordinary

"Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful things in Your Law" Psalm 119:18

The blessing of “ordinary life” is that God grants us a constant succession of opportunities to know His grace and His presence rather than waiting for one perfect moment to dramatically demonstrate our love for Him. God’s army looks like God’s people.

David already walked in obedience and was able to be obedient in facing Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Many of us picture ourselves in the future as a super saint full of radical faith, but obedience must happen in the real world right now. It doesn’t happen when we’re in a big group making noise together for God’s name and it doesn’t count in your head.

Obedience requires that you step out into “the real,” in the present context in which you find yourself, and choose: Trust God or melt into the crowd who talks about trusting God.

You are more than ordinary...

Be blessed and be a blessing

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Few More of My Favorite Images from 2017

A Few of My Favs

What I like about these images is that they pushed me to explore more of the creative tools in Photoshop. I began to understand and use layer masks plus many of the filters in the program. I’m just beginning to scratch the surface of what this program can do and looking forward to push myself even further in 2018.

Night Photography is another challenge area where I’m working on to improve my skills. I love taking pictures, especially pictures of birds and yes, people too!!

The pictures in the collage were taken at Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville, the Melbourne Beach Pier, the Viera Wetlands, Cocoa Beach, New York skyline, Quebec City skyline, Space Coast Fair, Downtown Jacksonville, Jacksonville Zoo, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C.

God blesses us with many things in life and we each have different gifts and talents. We must decide how we're going to use them. Everyone of us has something to offer the world around us. What brings you joy? When you discover what that is, use it to bring joy to other!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2018...2017 in now part of our past and time for reflection.

In 2017 I posted 81 new blog posts, down from 170 in 2016. So, my goal 2018 is to write 200 new posts – that’s an average of 16-17 posts each month. So, let the blogging begin with a reflection on 2017.

Some of my posts included a series on the Book of Ephesians – “A Call to Carry on.” No More Walls was a popular post in this series.

Inside My Eye was also a popular post, I wrote about my surgery to correct a Macular Hole in my right eye. Well, the journey continues with another surgery in a few days to once again repair the hole. I don’t mind the surgery as much as I mind the recovery.

Joy” was another popular post in 2017.

For the last few years I have participated in the #write31days challenge to post each day in October. My theme for the series was “Created to Create.” Follow the link here to read the daily posts featuring some of my favorite PhotoShop CC techniques and photos.

I wrote on a variety of topics throughout 2017, finishing out the year with a few of the places my husband and I visited. Here’s a YouTube video of my final project for 2017, that was presented as a slideshow at the Camera Club of Brevard’s January 2nd program the includes a few of my favorite places. The music in the video is not mine, the artist credit is on the last slide.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and I hope you'll come visit again very soon!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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How to Study the Bible

How to Study the Bible and ...why reading isn't enough. Get serious about it! Grab a notebook and highlighters. Don’t b...

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