10 Ways to Fall In Love with Your Bible

“We become what we behold.” — unknown

This has been my mantra for 2017. What do you spend your time beholding? Where are your eyes fixed? What is your heart full of?

Are we beholding the things of this world or are we beholding God and His Word? Are we so fixed upon our circumstances that we miss God at work?

God’s Word tells us to think about things lovely, true, noble and right. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

How do we go about this?

I believe we fix our eyes on Jesus, we know Him more, we BEHOLD Him through the pages of His Word. 

This isn’t a religious rule or obligation. This is about a relationship. 

When we spend time in God’s Word, we can’t help but know God more.

But, maybe God’s Word is a mystery for you. Maybe you feel guilty when you don’t spend time in reading and studying His Word. Maybe you haven’t figure out a way to study that brings you joy. Maybe you’re picking up a book and forgetting Who the author is.

10 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Bible

So, I want to share some of my favorite tips & suggestions for helping you to LOVE spending time in God’s Word!

We behold God through the pages of His Word. Do you want to know God more? Read the Bible. Remember, this isn’t like reading other books. This isn’t a textbook. This is about knowing God and being known. This is about never growing old of the Greatest Love Story of all time.

Say good-bye to excuses. We are not focusing on “doing it right.” We are focusing on God and knowing Him more. We are not focusing on guilt or how many days we’ve missed in our reading plan. We are fixing our eyes on JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Start with prayer. Don’t leave God out of your quiet time. I know that sounds crazy, but invite Him in. Start with Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you, to convict you, to encourage you, to help you. I believe this is a prayer He loves to answer.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, a cozy blanket and find your favorite chair. We are women, we enjoy comfort. I like to think of my comfy chair as a big hug from God every morning. Use a favorite mug and have a hot cup of something delicious.

Try out different methods of Bible Study! You can learn about 7 Simple Methods of Bible Study here! I *know* that one or more of these will appeal to you and truly help you to love studying the Bible! Methods such as: word study, apple method, verse mapping, and more!

Pray through the Bible. This is my favorite method of prayer, but it’s also my favorite way to read God’s Word. Praying the Scriptures has changed my prayer life. Don’t make it hard. Read a passage, what jumps out at you? Ask God to do that in your life. Read the words aloud to God. They are HIS Words, of course they are right and good words to pray! You will receive a Simple Guide to Praying the Scriptures when you subscribe to my blog. Or check out Praying the Psalms or 40 Verses to Pray in the Waiting. I also have free monthly praying the Scriptures calendars!

Consider the gift of God’s Word. I have spent time in a country where the Bible is not allowed. I have witnessed with my own eyes precious saints of God hiding a few PAGES of God’s Word so that they would have SOMETHING. When we consider what an immense TREASURE the Word of God is, we can’t help but want to read more and more of it!

Join a ladies Bible study group! It is important to have time that you spend with God on your own, but it is also important to not neglect the fellowship with other believers. This is one of my favorite ways to study God’s Word! Iron sharpens iron! If you aren’t in a local church that offers weekly Bible study times, get a few friends together and go through a book together as friends! You can even choose one that has videos so no one has to feel called to teach during your time together.

Write the Word. One thing that I started doing last year was writing out the Word of God as I read and pray through it! Why do we write things down? We write down things that are important to us, things we want to remember. So, why not write down God’s Word? I have a video telling a little more about this and a page full of FREE resources for writing various books of the Bible here.

Try something new! Maybe your Bible reading just needs a little spark of color or creativity. None of this is necessary, mind you.  But God is the most creative Being possible. So I happen to think He loves the trend in Bible Journaling. Try a Bible Journaling Kit from Dayspring. Watch a few videos and try something new! Step out of your comfort zone.

Bonus Tip!

Read the brand new book 10 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Bible by Shanna Noel. I was SO blessed to get an early copy of this book and I LOVE it. I finished the book in just a few short days! Y’all know how much I love God’s Word. Sharing resources with you all to help you love the Bible is one of my passions. So I was VERY excited to read this book. It’s fabulous.

I shared with you 10 of my favorite ways to LOVE the Word of God, but Shanna shares her ideas for helping you to fallen love with God’s Word in this brand new book! I”m so excited for you all to read this!

 

4 Ways to Chase Slow

I just finished the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. It was so good and exactly what my heart needed. As you know, I’ve been on this journey myself. I read Present Over Perfect a few months ago and it kind of propelled me on this journey. This book was just the encouragement I needed to keep going against the grain of more, more, more.

Both of these books really made my heart stop and ask, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10.

4 Ways to Chase Slow

These things are just things God has been teaching me. They weren’t necessarily listed in the book in this way, but just themes God is placing on my heart time and time again lately. I hope something here resonates with you, too!

  1. Say no. Say it once today. Say it again tomorrow. Keep practicing. It won’t get easier but you WILL get better at it!
  2. But say yes to what matters. Saying no to some things allows us to say yes to the right things! As an example, my schedule was freed up just a little bit when I decided to stop teaching piano lessons. While that was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made before, it has allowed me to say YES to more time for homeschooling and  time for exercise and cooking healthy dinners!! I’m saying yes to the most important things in this season! But it had to start with a “no.”
  3. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Keep up with God instead. Don’t look to the left or the right…don’t feel inferior because of what so-and-so is doing. You look at the path God has given you and put one foot in front of the other!
  4. Abide in Christ. Read John 15 and ask God to show you where you are abiding. To abide means to dwell. To reside. Where are your thoughts residing? What about your heart? Where is your heart’s home? What are you dwelling on more: Pinterest or God?

Favorite Quotes from the Book

“Ask an Ethiopian what they need and they might tell you with a wide smile: amassing is meaningless. There is only today, with holes in our pockets, with time spilling out. We cannot keep it for tomorrow. We cannot mend our seams to hoard, save, carry. Ask a bird how to fly, and it might tell you to remove the weight from your wings.” Erin Loechner

“Sometimes choppy waters teach us to sail better.” Erin Loechner

“We changed the rules, that is all. The instructions told us that hard work means logging a lot of hours at the office to pay for more things so as to appear you are logging a lot of hours at the office. The instructions tell us to work hard, then play hard, but mostly work hard. You can play hard when you’re dead. Isn’t this called responsibility? Isn’t this called wisdom? Straighten up, young man, you’ve got a mortgage to pay. 

We tore the instructions to shreds, and then, Lord, have mercy, we bowled. [referencing an earlier portion where they began taking “off the bumpers” of life.]

Ken quit Hollywood and began freelancing for film startups and marketing firms. I left the ad agency and filled in the pay gap with income from my blog. I began producing an independent design zine. We visited gallery shows and shopped artist warehouse sales. We went to the pier, over the Ferris Wheel, to the shore. We held hands in the grocery store. We once ate a pint of ice cream for dinner. For dinner!

…It was not without work. It was not all fun and games. It was not effortless, discarding the rules you’d memorized as a kid. There’s a reason those bumpers exist – so our balls don’t end up in the gutters. But Ken and I would never again step back into our life of fast, our Hollywood rat race, our productivity spin cycle. We had come to love our slower life – a life less stressed, less scheduling, less stifling.

For the first time in my life, I was beginning to see the appeal of less.” Erin Loechner from Chasing Slow

What do you think?

I would love some input from you! What are ways we can purposefully CHASE SLOW?

And, what books help you keep this mentality? I need to keep reading for motivation and inspiration to keep saying NO to the things I need to say no to in order to say YES to what is best for this season.

One such book that really began my journey of “chasing slow” was when I read Present Over Perfect a few months ago! This book was life changing for me. You can find see my video discussing this book and other books I read in 2016 here. 

Facebook Live Video Discussion

Happiness and the Christian

Are Christians supposed to be happy? Are happiness and joy really that different? What exactly *is* the difference? Aren’t we supposed to strive for holiness more than happiness? Was Jesus happy on earth? Is God happy?

The gospel is good news, right? If we believe it to be such, I think living lives of misery likely doesn’t do much toward showing others the love of Jesus.

My ideas about happiness have certainly changed in the last year or so. It started when I read The Happniess Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Her message so deeply resonated with me that I blogged about it, I led an online book club through it and I’ve given the book as gifts. The message has been further applied in my life as I have read 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life and 60 Days of Happiness: Discover God’s Promise of Relentless Joy by Randy Alcorn.

“Among Christ-followers, happiness was once a positive, desirable word. Only in recent times have happiness and joy been set in contrast with each other. This isn’t just biblically and historically ungrounded; it has undermined our understanding of merriment, pleasure, and joy. Are laughter, celebration, and happiness God-created gifts, or are they ambushes from Satan and our sin nature that incur God’s disapproval? Our answer determines whether our faith in God is dragged forward by duty or propelled by delight.” Randy Alcorn from 60 Days of Happiness.

I knew that my life as a believer would include suffering. I knew that Jesus suffered and so would we. I honestly thought that God desired my holiness and NOT my happiness.

God does call us to holiness, of course, YES. But, through our lives of obedience and service and living out the uniqueness of who God has made us to be…there is joy. There is happiness.

I don’t think that there truly is so much difference between joy and happiness. I think we use those words interchangeably and try to make joy sound a little holier. {grin} Not that there is anything wrong with choosing our words carefully or feeling strongly about certain words.

Did you know the Bible references happiness?

Have you ever read this famous passage from Matthew?

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 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.

Blessed = Happy

In the original language, the word that Jesus is using in this passage means happy. Hmmm. Although He uses the word happy, the things he tells us will make us happy are not traditionally thought of us happy things. Oh, but that is the way of the cross…that is the way of Jesus…and I think that is the key to understanding happiness as a Christian.

Happiness doesn’t look like what the world says happiness is. As believers, we can find happiness {and joy!} in things that the world may think are crazy. 

For the JOY set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. (Hebrews 12)

Finding joy in giving of your life on a cross?

There is joy to be found in living a life of love. Jesus was the perfect and ultimate example.

There is joy to be found even in sorrow.

There is happiness to be found in obedience.

There is a deep seated happiness in knowing our eternity is secure.

There is a blessedness in knowing Jesus and reminding our hearts that we are never alone.

Let’s take back the word HAPPY

So, I say it’s time that we, as believers, TAKE BACK the word happy. Let’s not look at it as a bad word. Let’s remind our hearts that joy and happiness can be very similar and both can be wonderful benefits of living a life in Jesus. Let’s not look condescendingly at people who use the word happy, but on the same token, if someone has a conviction about the word let’s show grace. Either way: grace. Whether you like the word happy or you don’t, there is grace for you.

And you know what? Grace is one of the ultimate happy gifts of Christ. Let’s enjoy Him.

Craving Connection

We all have a God-given longing within us for meaningful and authentic relationships. We were created with that longing because God desires relationship with His children. He created us for intimacy. But, getting to that place can be difficult for many of us. I have struggled with friendship over the years. That is probably why I love this new book, Craving Connection, from the (In)Courage writers so much.

This book discusses improving our connections with God, with friends and with our communities. Each day there is a suggestion for engaging those around you, a 3-4 page devotional, connection questions, a prayer and a challenge.

Simple challenges like “text a friend and tell her how much you appreciate her.”

How could your life be different after prayerfully and intentionally connecting with God, friends, and your community?

Craving Connection is a journey where (in)courage writers share real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to find out!

Craving Connection Devotional Kit

Along with the new book, the Illustrated Faith devotional kit for this month goes along with the new book!! It is BEAUTIFUL. Such pretty colors, fonts and flowers!

The new kit is also called Craving Connection

My Unboxing Video

 

Craving Connection Video from (In)Courage

Find the Book & Illustrated Faith Kit

You can find the book AND the devotional kit at Dayspring! 

Let’s Be Women of the Word Together

 

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Do you want to be a woman of the Word? Me, too.

Join me beginning January as we begin our next book study with the book Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. 

Together we are going to grapple with questions like…

Why do we study the Bible?

How do we study the Bible?

What are practical tips for studying God’s Word?

How can we make our Bible study about God and not about ourselves?

In her book Women of the Word, Jen tells us that when we read and study the Bible looking to learn more about ourselves, we are doing it for the wrong reasons. The Bible is a book about God. We learn about Him, we look for Him, and we find Him.

This isn’t to say we don’t learn more about ourselves in the process, but HOW we go about our study will help us learn more about God, which is the ultimate goal.

Let’s study the One we want to become more like…

It’s been said that we become what we behold. Let us behold our God through the pages of His Word! 

 

Write the Word with us!

In the book Women of the Word she very strongly encourages us not to take verses out of context and to look at the Scriptures as a whole. I completely agree with this. However, before we look at studying a book of the Bible in depth, I would like for us to spend a few weeks looking at many passages about God’s Word itself. I want our hearts to be reminded of the importance and treasure of His Word.

Let’s see what God’s Word has to say about God’s Word. These are all verses that will stir our hearts to know His Word more and more!

I will be starting this Write the Word schedule on January 1st, 2017. Join me on Instagram if you’d like to see nearly daily morning nuggets of truth from these passages. 

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women-of-the-word-write-the-word-plan

 

Join our Closed Facebook Group

We will be discussing this book weekly in our closed facebook group! We would love to have you.

Click here to join our group. I will look to make sure your facebook account is a real person. And then we will approve your membership. Look for a notification for His Mercy is New Community of Encouragement.

Reading Schedule

January 6th – Introductions in the closed group – come by and introduce yourself!

January 9th – discuss Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2

January 16 – Chapter 3

January 23 – Chapter 4

January 30 – Chapter 5

February 6 – Chapter 6

February 13 – Chapter 7

February 20 – Chapters 8 & 9, Conclusion

Free Study Guide

Jen Wilkin & her team at Crossway have put together a FREE study guide for this book that you can find here! I will be using portions of this in our closed group as well!

Passage to Memorize Together

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After Women of the Word

After we finish this study of the book Women of the Word, it is my hope and prayer that you will continue with us as we take a look at 1 book of the Bible and study it more indepth using the tools we’ve learned from this book!