Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Who, what, when, where, why and how!

30-Day Revive our Hearts Reading Challenge
Day 2: Hey, That’s Mine! 

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” —Hebrews 4:12 ESV

It’s fun to check emails—to see if friends have written us or if a special message has arrived— but imagine if someone else read your messages all the time and then just passed along parts of them to you. After a while, you’d likely say, “Hey! I want to read those messages myself, thank you!”

 It’s the same with Scripture reading. Perhaps you’ve heard lots of sermons or read books about the Bible. That’s great, but it’s not the same as reading the Bible yourself. It is God’s love letter to you; it’s meant to be personal.

When you read a letter, you notice who wrote it, but also what they said, when they wrote it, perhaps where they were when they wrote, and even why they wrote. Follow that same observation technique as you read the Bible. Ask the questions, “Who, what, when, where, why, and how?” Look for the people involved. Look for the subject, event, or action. Try to determine when and where the verses were written. Determine why God wanted you to hear this message.

 Finally, ask questions for application, like: “How does this apply to my life?” “How can I change my thinking or behavior so it lines up with biblical truth?” “How does God want me to respond?” Ask the Holy Spirit to be your teacher and give you insight and wisdom. In this way, you’re not just getting into the Word; the Word is getting into you! The Word of God is alive and powerful (Heb. 4:12), and God will use it to transform your life.

Keep on reading; keep on listening; keep on growing!

Action Step: As you read the Bible today, ask yourself application questions like the ones above.

© Used with permission.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Resolved 2016

I'm a little late on the New Year Resolutions thing...and this isn't a blog about keeping or not keeping them!
But the number one question I get from ladies of all ages has something to do with what bible study plan I use or if I can recommend a good plan for reading through the Bible.

I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions either, but the beginning of a new year does seem a good time to a spiritual check-up.  Here is a great start for that:

Usually, during those times of seeking God to show us areas we have slacked on, a big one is our time in the Word.  As His children, we know the importance of spending time with Him.  And He is faithful to lovingly draw us back through the conviction of the Holy Spirit when our world has gotten caught up in misplaced priorities.

I wanted to provide you all with a list of great resources for Bible reading this year.  This list has something for everyone.  And even if you are already a seasoned woman of the Word, we all need encouragement to dig in and grow and not to get complacent.

I also will be following Revive Our Hearts 30- Day Bible Reading Challenge.  You can join me here on the blog or on my Facebook page Living Out God's Design.
With this challenge, you will use whatever Bible Reading system you have in place or are looking to implement.  The challenge will encourage you each day to dig deeper in the Word with some practical applications regarding your reading for the day.

I pray this is the year we all grow more and more in love with God and His letter to us.  That we will know and understand better who He is and consequently, then, grow "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18

You can go here for the best resource of bible reading plans I have found: Bible Reading Plans

And here is Day 1 of the Revive Our Hearts Bible Reading Challenge:

Day 1: What You’ll Find Between the Covers

We’re so glad you have taken the challenge to read the Bible daily for the next thirty days. It’s going to be a true challenge, because it won’t always be easy. But as with most worthwhile choices in life, you won’t regret it. God will use Scripture to help you know Him better and to discover His wonderful plan for all mankind—His plan for YOU! As you get into His Word, you’ll begin to see how all of it fits together, with the wonderful story of God’s redemption woven through each and every book.

As you read, verse by verse and chapter by chapter, you’ll begin to sense God speaking to your heart. He may give you some marching instructions for your day or awaken you to a truth you’ve never seen before or show you an area of your heart or mind that He wants to transform so He can make you more like Jesus.

So let’s get started.

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” —Proverbs 30:5 ESV

We hope you’re enjoying your time reading the Scriptures. No matter where you read, you’ll find that God’s Word is an extremely practical, relevant, and timeless book.

Use what you learn from Bible characters’ examples—good and bad—to challenge your own walk with God. Life’s struggles aren’t meant to discourage us, but to help us grow as we apply the truth of His Word. Some of the stories in the Bible will be familiar to you, but ask God to help you read with fresh eyes. You may see something you’ve never considered before! Let Scripture reading become your daily delight . . . the joy and song of your heart.

If you’ve chosen to read through the Bible from beginning to end, you’ll discover that the first books are foundational. Genesis is the book of first things. It teaches us about the origin of our world as well as the early history of God’s people. Many of the things you see in our world today—especially the ugly consequences of sin and the struggles between nations of people— are a result of what happened in that early history.

History, poetry, romance, prophecy, wisdom literature . . . there’s so much to discover between the covers of God’s book, and it is all “profitable” for us (2 Tim. 3:16). It’s our prayer that your biggest discovery will be that God and His plan for the world is much bigger than you can imagine.

 30-Day Bible Reading Challenge © Used with permission. Keep up your reading, with joy! Action Step: Today as you read, look for something you never knew before or for something that speaks to a personal need.