Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ways to Study the Bible


Read and Study the Bible

The Bible tells us how to know God…how to find eternal life…and how to experience genuine life in our inner person. It gives health to our souls and tells us how to heal broken relationships. The answers to life’s questions are found in the Bible. But where does a person begin in reading and studying the Bible. Here’s an approach to try that’s been effective for many around the world:

Start by Reading Ten Minutes a Day. The truth of the Bible is food for your soul. The Bible will literally become a part of you, and your hunger for God’s Word will increase if you begin reading God’s Word daily. If you find that ten minutes a day isn’t enough to satisfy your spiritual hunger for the Word, try ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening. You may need several ten minute feedings throughout the day.




Make sure you have a small readable copy of the Bible that you can carry with you. There are many free Bible apps you can download to your smartphone, tablet or electronic device. Ask God to guide your reading. If you have difficulty concentrating as you read, read the Bible out loud.

Read as if God is Speaking Directly to You. Always look for the personal application. God knows the number of hairs on your head, and He desires to make His Word come alive to you in practical, personal ways. This does not mean that you are the sole source of interpreting the Bible or that you can bend the Bible’s message to fit your own life and your own ideas. Bible truths are eternal and absolute. The Bible spans all cultures, history, social levels, and all occupations, all ages, races, and nationalities. But the way in which a particular passage of the Bible applies to you circumstances and your experience is unique to you each day. If a verse stands out to you in a particular way, write it down on a card and carry it with you all day. Read it over and over. Think about what the verse stood out to you.

Five Ways to Study the Bible. In addition to your daily reading of the Bible, discipline yourself to engage periodically in a more in-depth study of the Bible here are five approaches to Bible study:



·        Word and Subject Studies. This approach to study begins with the question, “I wonder what the Bible has to say about…?” The word or topic you choose is the subject of your study! Use a concordance to look up various references for Genesis to Revelation. With pencil and paper in hand, begin to look up references, and as you read each one, write down a few words that summarize what you believe to be a practical meaning or application of the verse to your life. Be sure to look up a number of verses or passages in both the Old Testament and New Testament – perhaps a dozen or more verses or passages. You may also want to look up synonyms (similar words) and antonyms (opposite words).

Word and subject studies make great devotional studies to share with family and friends. They reveal the nature of God and God’s “opinion” on a wide variety of problems and issues.

·        Journey Studies. The Bible tells the story of many journeys – both journeys of individuals and the journey of the children of God. A study of these journeys can help us see that life happens in stages…situations do change…and that no circumstance lasts forever. Life has good times and bad times. You may want to study the journey of these men and women: Joseph, the Children of Israel as they left Egypt, Abraham and Sarah, David, Paul, and most certainly, Jesus. Journey studies lead us to an understanding that life is a constant motion and it has a natural progression to it.

·        Progression Studies. In progression studies we are concerned with progress in or spiritual lives. The Christian life must have an upward trend so that we are always growing more into the likeness of Christ, closer to God, and upward in spirit. Some vary familiar passages may be read in a progressive way that reveals growth toward spiritual maturity, including the Beatitude portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12), Psalm 22-24, (which gives insight into Jesus as our Shepherd), Galatians 5:22-23 (one character trait gives rise to the next as we bear the fruit of the Spirit), Ephesians 3:14-10 (a spiritual progression for those who pray with boldness and confidence), 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (for those who are living in the day of the Lord’s return). As you engage in a progression study, read the whole before dissecting the parts. Look for a strong relationship among the verses – don’t contrive a relationship that doesn’t exist; check you progression with other Scriptures; keep in mind that the last verse or last passage must bring you closer to Jesus than the first.

    Type and Shadow Studies. A rewarding way to study the Old Testament is to look for the people, objects, and evens that cast spiritual shadows. These studies reflect the “types” of experiences and events that happen to us on a spiritual level today. In themselves, the stories are about Old Testament people and events. The shadows of these stories tell us more about God, outlining for us the nature and working of God on the spiritual level. As such, they tell us a great deal about our spiritual selves and help us understand our spiritual purpose. Type and shadow studies reveal the interplay of the Holy Spirit and Jesus in our lives as we make the steps.

How do these studies differ from Journey and Progression studies?

Journey studies show how God works in our natural lives; type and shadow studies, in contrast, show us the master plan for our lives in the context of eternity.

Progression studies make us aware of the steps that occur in spiritual growth. A type and shadow study, in contrast, tells us how these steps occur and why.

The story of Ruth (Book of Ruth is a good study for type and shadow studies (Ask: who is Ruth? Who is Boaz? Who is Naomi?) The way in which God dealt with the Children of Israel in the Book of Deuteronomy makes a goody type-and-shadow study, as do the stories of Esther, Jonah, and Job.

Symbol Studies. The Bible has many symbols, including numbers, colors, and tangible objects used as symbols in various places. In many cases, understanding a symbol is the key to understanding an entire story or teaching. Symbols indicate eternal value, eternal meaning, and eternal reasons. For an object to be a genuine symbol, the meaning associated with that symbol must run from cover to cover in the Bible. Among the symbols that make great studies are: gold and silver, wood, crown, seals, stone vs. dust. Objects that are filled with symbols make good studies, including the Ark of the Covenant, Noah’s Ark, Nehemiah’s wall, and Daniel’s den of lions. Ask the Holy Spirit to make the meaning of the symbols known to you and be sure to check and cross-check you interpretation of a symbol to make certain that your interpretation is valid. A true symbol does not mean one thing in one place and another thing in another place – it must have a consistent meaning throughout the Bible.

The more you read and study your Bible, the more you will want to read and study it. Its spiritual riches cannot be fully mined in any one lifetime…that’s all the more reason to begin today and continue reading and studying every day for the rest of your live!
























Source: The Women’s Study Bible, Perspective by Roberta Hromas

Friday, November 27, 2015

God With Us!




This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

God always keeps His unconditional promises. The Lord - Yahweh - God's continuous presence is always with us.

God's fulfillment of His promises will continue until eternity! Search the scriptures for the promises God; you can even do a Google search - oh yes you can! Check out my post here on "Just Google It." Write down as many as you need on a piece of paper or index card and carry them with you. Read them throughout the day.

May the Word of God give you peace today.

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

All In: It's Now or Never



Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
Set God-sized goal. Pursue God-ordained passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes.
Keep seeking God.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences.
Enjoy the journey.
Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
 Don't let fear dictate your decisions.
Take a flying leap of faith.
Quit holding out. Quilt holding back.
Push all your chips to the middle of the table.
It's time to ante up all your faith.
It's time to go all in.
It's time to go all out.

- Mark Batterson



Be blessed and be a blessing!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Friends



You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance. 2 Timothy 3:10

The beauty of connecting with others is that we have the opportunity to develop friendships with people who are very different from us.

Friendships can expose us to new experiences and ideas. When you think about people who have enriched you life simply because you know them, who comes to mind?

Friends can teach you all kinds of amazing lessons about life and God. Four friends to consider inviting into your life: someone who can mentor you (like Paul), someone you can mentor (like Timothy), someone who shows love through quiet listening (like Mary), and someone who show love through service (like Martha).

We should prayerfully ask for God's wisdom and guidance in our closest relationships. We also should pay attention to some of the choices Jesus made in His friendships.

 
When Jesus selected the disciples, He did not pick people who would become His followers but those who would become His friends. His choices in the disciples reveal something about the richness that comes from a diversity of friends as demonstrated in His relationships with John, Peter, Thomas and Nathanael.

Who is in your inner circle of friends? How are they challenging you to grow personally and in your faith journey?

Make a list of your twelve closest friends. Next to each name, make a list of the person's strengths an how he or she enriches your life. Spend time in prayer thanking God for each person.

Be blessed and be a blessing! Most of all "be a friend!"



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Just Google It!




Using Google Search is a fun, quick tool to add to your Bible Study Skills. As my husband so fondly says, "Just Google It!" And it's true you can Google anything, including questions/facts about the Bible. 



Click here if the video doesn't play: Watch a short video here


Here are a couple examples of searches I did and the results...





You have questions about the Bible or you have a situation in your life and you want to find answers - Google It! There are lots of interesting articles that come up, blog posts, Christian authors and pastors; 365promises.com; godvine.com; biblegateway.com. 

So, you have questions - Just Google It!

Be Blessed and be a blessing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom




“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.
    For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.
Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
    but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.
All nations will come to your light;
    mighty kings will come to see your radiance." Isaiah 60:1-3

God will transform His people’s (Christ-Followers’) destiny from the darkness as black as night caused by sin.

The transformation of all nations and might kings (presidents and world leaders) will be so radical that all kingdoms will take notice and be drawn to God through his people. (The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. - Revelation 21:24)







In Isaiah, Zion is a theological name for Jerusalem, the city of God. Zion symbolizes God’s presence and protection for his people, their resilience and victory against enemies, and the resulting peace. Zion is a place of security, tranquility and rest. In essence Zion is wherever God and His people are. Zion proclaims the good news that God comes to redeem His people and bring them back to His presence.



Zion also has a moral dimension. Because the Lord is already present among His people, they must live according to His ways. Chief characteristics of the Lord’s city are trust, justice, righteousness, and commitment. The Lord does not tolerate impurity, idolatry, injustice, ore unrighteousness. 

God is in control of history (past, present & future) and He weaves together all our lives into His plan. Even is the wake of all the recent world events God is in control. And with that we can find peace!

Be blessed and be a blessing. Tell someone about the goodness of God.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

God's Best

The pathway to God's best is paved with faith!



Don't be limited by your own imagination. God is in control of every aspect of our lives, every circumstance (Romans 8:20) God can work all things together for His good. He knows what's best for our lives.

Saying no to things that are good allows you to say yes to things that are great.

Know that you are loved, you are blessed, chosen, adopted into the Kingdom, favored, redeemed and forgiven.

God wants to do a new thing - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Run to God not away from God - Proverbs 18:10

God knows what best for our lives -  Romans 8:29

Shine like the stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of Life!

Be blessed and be a blessings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TODAY



TODAY

TGFT – Thank God for Today (Psalm 118:24)
"The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad."

Colossians 2:6
"Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him"
  •  Being a CF is not something you do it’s something you are...
  • Will those in the world around you recognize that Jesus lives on the inside you of or do you blend in with the world?

John 15:5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
  • We are the branches, Jesus is the vine
  • Apart from the vine we cannot survive

Celebrate TODAY & live a Christ-filled, fulfilling lifestyle


Connect TODAY to others in personal, vibrant relationships
 

Matthew 16:25 (The Message) I love the verse translation!
"Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself?"
  • Selfish living is a dead end




Be blessed and be a blessing!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Know the Truth





 

John 8:32 says,  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV)

God wants success in every area of our lives – home, work, business – God wants us to have abundance. God has NOT given us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and sound mind. We are then able to be free to fulfill the purpose that we are given to live. Free from all the fears, doubts and misconceptions that would cause us to miss our purpose to achieve our highest and best. Free to create the abundance in every area of our lives. We can then start to really enjoy our lives and live freely to be ourselves when we truly understand God’s truth vs. the lies of the enemy.
 
 
 
Go out and turn your world upside down or right side up! Have fun living in God’s love. Make those around you feel special and wonderful in your space. Share God’s love and His heart with everyone you meet. Expect great things and great things will happen! JOY - not just today but everyday!!!
 

 

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Cheryl



Related post - You are called to greatness

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Joy


TGFT - Thank God for Today (Psalm 118:24)

Life is unpredictable but God's character IS predictable.

Celebrate Life! (Matthew 11:19)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Things I Learned in October


Six Things I Learned in October 

1. The month of October I joined a group of bloggers for a 31 day writing challenge and amazingly, I did not miss a day. I posted something each of the 31 days! I loved the challenge...




2. I enjoy posting inspirational messages and using the photos I take to share the "Good News."



3. A fun place to visit and dream - "I wish I lived here!"

The Biltmore Estates



4. Over the river and through the wood and yes - pass grandmas house to get here, but so worth it - Crabtree Falls, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, N.C.


  
5. No matter what we're going through in this life, no matter what the challenges are - God stands by His promises - He will never leave us or abandon us. People disappoint but God never will!
But...life is still...
6. Now, I'm trying to decide on a theme for November!







Thank you for stopping by my blog and please do come again and again!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Circle Maker Finale



Hey ladies, we did it, we have finished the book!!! It’s a wrap – woo hoo…

I have enjoyed spending time with you over these last 9 weeks of this study. I hope your prayer life is forever changed. I am here for you and stay tuned I will be posting updates from time to time until our next study in the Spring!







We had a few growth challenges during this study – I’ve listed them below, you can share them with friends and family. I love meeting God and knowing that no matter where I am He’s always there. I hope you made the commitment but no worries you can do challenges as your schedule permits. We also created our Life Goals List (see Chapter 15).

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”
– Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
 

In our time together, it’s my hope that your prayer life has been forever changed and you have a more personal, vibrant relationship with The Lord.



Here's our growth challenges...

21-Day Prayer Challenge – starting today for the next 21 days. Identify a time you will pray every day. Then, pick a place you will go consistently to meet with God in prayer. Be sure this is a place you feel connected to God. Identify a specific person, promise, or problem you will circle in prayer every day for the coming three weeks. Be sure to keep this appointment with God every day and see what He accomplishes in and through you.

A Prayer Walk – if you have never prayer-walked before, use the directions below to help you get started:
 1.   Identify a specific location you know God wants you to pray for. You might even want to draw or take a picture of this place. It could be a home, workplace, school, community building, a block, or even a neighborhood.
 2.   Make a short list of three or four things you believe God wants you to pray while you walk around this area. It could be needs for specific people, salvation for those who are far from God, an in-breaking of spiritual strongholds, or anything else God places on your heart.
 3.   Plan to do your walk (on your own or with others you might invite along). Then go out and do it. You can pray silently out loud. If you are with another person or group and you pray out loud, others will thin you are having a conversation with each other. If you are alone, if you pray in a normal and conversational tone, people will think you are talking on a Bluetooth or phone! 
 4.   Keep prayers for these same needs and concerns after you have completed your prayer circle walk.


From verse 9 of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, I encouraged us to do TWO things -

Call a Friend & Find an Accountability Partner

In it verse 9 states: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.”

Our Final Circle Maker Challenge for this study…

Praying Through Your Calendar
Take time to pray through your calendar instead of just looking through it. It’s amazing the difference it makes when you pray circles round the people you will be meeting. It turns appointments in diving appointments. When you go into a meeting with a prayerful posture, it creates a positively charged atmosphere.

God answers every prayer, and He keeps every promise. That is who He is. That is what He does. And if you have the faith to dream big, pray hard, and think long, there is nothing God loves more than proving His faithfulness.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Psalm 139:14, 17 Prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.



Be blessed and be a blessing, 

Cheryl


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