Posts filed under ‘Bible Study’

3 REASONS I Have a Regular Quiet Time (aka Devotions)

Sometimes I journal during my devotions. I write down insights, responses, and prayers.

Sometimes I journal during my devotions. I write down insights, questions, responses, and prayers.

What does it mean to have devotions or a quiet time with God? It simply means putting aside time to engage in prayer and reading (the Bible or other spiritual literature).

The prayer time is more than talking to God.  It is also listening to Him. I find that I “hear” most of His responses when I read the Bible.

Go here to read about how to hear God’s voice.

 My reading is usually purposeful. I.e. I spend time (daily) reading the verses, chapter, or book of the Bible that my Wednesday night study group is studying. I read to understand. And I read to see what application can be made to my life. In other words, I don’t read just to read.

Having devotions in the mornings has become a habit again. I prefer morning devotions because then I know it will happen before the rest of the day’s agenda interferes. And at this time of day I can give my undivided attention to praying and reading. But like all habits (with me any way) I know that it can be easily broken if I don’t watch my environment and my motives.

Go here to read how I prepare my environment for maximum adherence to this habit.

I need to periodically go over my motives for having a regular quiet time. Knowing these reasons helps increase my stick-to-it-ness. In fact this step is helpful for maintaining any habit. And there are definite reasons I want to spend some extended time with God each morning. Here are 3 reasons.

Reason 1: Transformed Mind. It is easy for me to think mainly of myself and to think badly of people, situations, God, and even myself. The media and culture I live in support this kind of narcissistic, distorted thinking.

However, when I spend purposeful time in the the Bible, the WORD of Truth, my thinking becomes transformed. It goes from thinking according to the world and my natural reasoning to thinking thoughts aligned with God’s Word.

  • Selfishness versus Servanthood
  • Unforgiveness versus Forgiveness
  • Enttlement versus Love
  • Me-centered versus God-centered

Read and ponder Romans 12:1-2.

Reason 2: Transformed Actions. How and what I think upon radically affects what I do. How I behave shows what I think/believe in. I want my actions to reflect well on God. I want my behaviour to be consistent with Biblical mandates because being in alignment will bring me peace and wisdom. And mainly I want to be transformed to show that Christ indeed lives within me.

Read and ponder Matthew 5:16  . . . . Psalm 119:165 . . . . Proverbs 22:17-21 . . . . Galatians 2:20.

Reason 3: Transformed Relationship. In order to go from strangers to intimate friends, steps need to be taken in order to transform the relationship. To deepen any relationship there needs to be time and energy spent on that relationship. This is also true of a relationship with God. Engaging in spiritual disciplines like praying and reading the Bible help us know God better and thus deepen our relationship with Him.

As my relationship with God grows, I’ve noticed the following . . . 

  • I grow to love Him more.
  • I become more in awe of who He is and what He does.
  • My desire to obey increases because of the thinking transformation that is taking place.

I don’t always understand God’s ways and thoughts. But I have increasingly more trust in how He governs. I think this is true because I am knowing Him better and better (mainly through my devotions) as the years advance.

Read and ponder John 15:13-15 . . . . Isaiah 55: 8-9.

These are only 3 reasons for having regular quiet times. These are my top 3 for this stage in my life.

Your Turn . . . What are some reasons you have devotions?

Related Posts . . . 

NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z ChallengeThere are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is R. The topic is REASONS to have a quiet time.

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Rev Up Your Personal Bible Study:7 Ideas to Combat B-o-r-i-n-g

Bible study isn’t about how long you study each day. It doesn’t matter if you use world-renowned resources or read top-selling Biblical writers. It isn’t an item to check off on your to-do list. Also, it isn’t helpful if you study the original languages and you aren’t getting closer to God. It’s about cultivating a relationship…a relationship with God, the Creator of Everything.

In the coming weeks, I’ll share ideas that can jumpstart your Bible study. You won’t use each of the ideas. But making even one or two changes will affect the way you approach and feel about your quiet time. It will also help you enjoy the process of knowing God better.

Read on and let yourself be motivated by one of the below ideas.

Bored No More. When we do the same thing over and over and over, it can become b-o-r-i-n-g! This applies to activites as well as to  relationships. If your Bible study is boring you, stop! Change something now. There are many ways to learn. Find the way that best fits you. Go to a Bible bookstore and browse. Pick something from one of the following categories:

  1. CD – Auditory learners will thrive on this type of study. I listen to teaching CD’s when I am in the car or when my eyes are too tired from extended computer use. I’ve listened to books (5 Love Languages of Children) and sermons from current teacher/ preachers (Joyce Meyer and Charles Swindoll) , my pastor (Mike Mitchum) and those long dead (CH Spurgeon).
  2. Children’s curriculum – I often go this route when I am learning anything new. The study sticks to the main points, is short, and is visually pleasing. Your local Bible bookstore will have many options. I recently picked one up on Missions. Go the extra mile and then teach the study to a child (yours or a borrowed one).
  3. Books – Many Christian books have a study guide at the back of the book or at the end of each chapter. You can go through it on your own or with others. It’s nice that you don’t have to pay extra money for these questions. Some example of books that include questions . . . The Five Love Languages for Singles, Facing Your Giants, and Power of Prayer.
  4. DVD – If you are a visual learner this is a great choice. The topics are many and the study is usually well done. Get a DVD study and invite neighbors or friends to join you. Typically DVD studies are more costly. If cost is an issue check what’s available at your local library or church. Over the past year I’ve gone through Boundaries and The Power of a Praying Woman.
  5. Topical studies – The choices here are numerous. Some have few chapters and some many. Some are in-depth and some give an over view. I’ve gone through Lessons on Christian Living with several ladies and it always impacts them and me. I’ve gone through The Treasure Principle twice. Grieving God’s Way is one I hope to lead in the fall .  
  6. Magazines – Use a magazine as a jumping off point for study in the Bible.

Magazines cover a range of topics and purposes. These include . . .

Lastly, try incorporating devotionals into your Bible study time.

7.   Devotionals – These are typically a few pages long, expound on one passage (point or person),  clearly define the main point and end with an application. Though this type of study requires few minutes, the depth of the material is apparent and the impact it has is real.

I’ve read many types of devotionals.  Some . . .

  • Encourage me as a mom (The Official Soccer Mom Devotional)
  • Are free (My Daily Bread – I pick mine up from church every three months)
  • Are classics (My Utmost for His Highest)
  • Inject humor (anything by Pastsy Clairmont)
  • Give daily snippets about a topic I want to know more about (50 Days of Heaven: Reflections That Bring Eternity to Light).
  • Bring family members closer: Each Christmas a friend buys multiple copies of the same devotional. She keeps one and gives the others to her family members. Sometimes they share their thoughts in-person, through email and on the phone. They use the devotional as a springboard for praying for one another. Reading the devo increases their intimacy with God, and reading the same thing each day as a group increases the feeling of community.

Stay Tuned for Idea 2 on Revving Up Your Bible Study: Small Groups.

Your Turn . . .

  1. Have you even been bored with your Bible study time?
  2. What do you do when you are bored?
  3. What do you think it means if you are bored?
  4. What resources would you recommend from the above categories? What would you add?
  5. Please leave a comment if you try one of these ideas.

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The Power of a Praying Woman to Impact Small Group of Women

Looking for a small group where you can connect and learn with other women?
Sunday (January 10, 2010) we will be starting The Power of a Praying Women by Stormie Omartian, 11 am at CNC. The room is TBD. This 10 week class will guide women through the basics of prayer via video, discussion, daily homework, and of course prayer.
The workbook is $10.17 from Amazon (normally $14.95). Let me know by (January 6) and I will order a book for you. Make the check out to CNC and put “women’s Sunday study” in the memo line.
  • The video curriculum workbook will be a valuable resource for learning about the topic before the class because each week has five day’s worth of interaction with that week’s message, Scripture and prayer.
  • The first five lessons will cover the following: Praying to become all God made me to be . . . Praying for a life-transforming walk with God. . . Praying to be free of the past . . Praying to put my life in right order . . . Praying to surrender control of my life to God.        
  • However, it is not necessary to have the workbook in order to attend the class or gain from the information presented. Just be sure to bring paper if you are a note-taker.
 8 women have already signed up for this 10 week class.
Please join us as we learn more about prayer and practice what we learn as a group and on our own.
Your Turn . . .
  1. If you’ve already done this video study or read the book, what is the gem that you still remember? Still practice?
  2. What would you like to learn about regarding prayer?
Related Posts

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Genesis Commentary Recommendation

Looking for a good commentary on Genesis?

Our pastor recommends this one  by Derek Kidner. Pastor Mike said its the kind of book where every sentence is loaded. You can get a commentary for as low as $1.48 + $3.99 shipping.

Yes, of course I ordered one!

If you order one too, let me know. Maybe we can talk about what we read.

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Conflict is the Answer. What’s the Solution?

Question: What one thing is experienced by 100% of all people?

Answer: Conflict!

Conflict is something that everyone has in common. We all get stressed from it. We all, at times, handle it badly. Sometimes we are the receivers. Sometimes we are the initiators. What can we do about the conflicts we all experience?

Pastor Mike has an answer. Starting September 23rd he is guiding the church through a new series on peacemaking. This eight week series will present the tools needed to handle conflict in a way that is satisfying, helpful and biblical.

Small Groups will also be going through the same information. That way we can practice using these tools. “We grow through copying deeds, not just listening to words, through examples as well as precept, through habit and not just insight and information” (Os Guinness).

Watch the bulletin for details on the small groups. Sign up in the foyer. Contact me if you are interested in becoming a small group leader.

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Today’s Highlights – Wednesday

  • Spending time with Nasim, a 20 year old woman who is desparate to improve her English. She struggles with self-doubt regarding her scholastic future. Nasim wanted extra help so I asked her (yesterday) to write an essay about one of her dreams and how to accomplish it. It is evident that she worked hard on it. It is also evident that she’ll become fluent in englsih (which she speaks with an english accent). My hope and prayer is that I’ll be able to pass along some encouragment to Nasim.
  • Nezam brought the hummous, etc. Very tastey. And more importantly we are buidling a freindship bridge. Nezam is a gentle, caring woman who wants to make us feel welcome here. We do!
  • I was able to spend a few minutes praying with two Believers. I prayed in English and they prayed in Arabic. I’ll  get to see both of them at church on Sunday. I am anxious to hear how God answered our prayers of supplication.
  • Playing ping pong and “little football” with some of our teen students. I believe that Bryce has some footage on his video blog. Spoiler alert – Shula and Yanzan won all 3 games. We don’t call it foose ball because here foose means fart.  🙂
  • Shula and I were invited to visit Awatif. Hopefully we will be able to schedule a time for next week.
  • Jessica and I had a long talk about this land, the work going on here and politics. She is such an informed, but gentle speaker, it was a joy to listen, learn and “debate” with her.  

I feel so privileged to be able to be here teaching english, listening and learning. Thank you for your prayers. I still make cultural mistakes, but so far nothing too drastic.

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Hey, Wanna Join My Hunt?

I’m going on a Mark hunt. I’m on Step one.

Are you game?

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Observation – First Part of In-Depth Bible Study

I am examing the gospel of Mark  for a ladies study we’ll have next year. I love starting new books, don’t you?

I thought I’d share how I approach a new study. There are 3 parts to my studying: observation, interpretation ,and finally, application.


First, I like to read through the book several times. My intent is to get the flow of the story. After a week of doing this, I find (and record) major book-wide themes, words to look up, and new things I hadn’t noticed before. I try to read as large a chunk as possible, in each sitting, like I would a novel.

Secondly, I then thoughfully read each chapter several times. After a week of reading only one chapter (or smaller portion of Scripture) each day, I come up with book-wide themes, words to look up and new things I hadn’t noticed before.  I put all these thoughts into a journal.

Thirdly, towards the end of the week, I write down any other observations I have. I try to record at least 20 things.

  • Significant points
  • Record the 4 W’s of who, what, when, where
  • Summarize the main content in my own words
  • Anything else God brings to mind

I don’t do research at this point. I am still recording my observations.

Fourthy, I record the details of the 4 W’s.

  • Who – Audience, writer, people named
  • What – Events and primary principles
  • When – Time period it was written
  • Where – Geography and location of author, audience and action in the book. Look out those maps!

Since most of the above is academic “work,” I make sure I spend some time just being in God’s Presence:

  • Praising God for His eternal Truths
  • Singing songs that celebrate who He is
  • Being quiet

That’s the end of my observation phase of Bible study.

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Answers to Yesterday’s Sin Quiz

Here’s part of our True/False quiz and their answers.

  1. True. God determines and defines what sin is.
  2. True. God’s definition of sin can change. (Trace the eating of meat throughout the Bible.)
  3. False. All sins are always sin. (Context is important. There are many examples of this besides the meat issue.)
  4. True. Some sins are always sin. (Obvious examples are murder and adultery.)
  5. False. Sin is eternal. (Only God is eternal.)
  6. False. Thinking about sin is just as bad as committing the sin. (We’re talking about consequences here.)
  7. False. All sins are equal in God’s eyes. (This one was hard for me to swallow as I’ve been taught this since a young Christian. I was told it is man who makes distinctions. Well, so does God. If all sins are equal, then the punishments would also be equal, but they are not. See  Exodus 22:1-4; Exodus 21:12-14; Matthew 5:19 and James 3:1; Luke 12:42-48; Galatians 6:7.)
  8. True. God leads people to be tempted to sin. (Matthew 4:1)
  9. True. God does not tempt people to sin.
  10. True. God tests his children. (Genesis 22:1)

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True/False Quiz on Sin

My Theology 2 class studied hamartiology (the doctrine of sin) on Monday.

Here’s part of our True/False quiz:

  1. God determines and defines what sin is.
  2. God’s definition of sin can change.
  3. All sins are always sin.
  4. Some sins are always sin.
  5. Sin is eternal.
  6. Thinking about sin is just as bad as committing the sin.
  7. All sins are equal in God’s eyes.
  8. God leads people to be tempted to sin.
  9. God does not tempt people to sin.
  10. God tests his children.

So, what are your answers? This turned out to be harder than I expected.

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10 Helpful Offerings from Habakkuk

Last week I asked y’all to think with me on this book on the following question: What does this passage offer to aid me in my Christian growth and how will I apply it?

Here are my answers. 

  • When times are going badly, it is good to review the mighty deeds God has done for me and others. This will encourage me to trust God in my today and tomorrow. This week when I’m discouraged, I will review God’s deeds and thank Him.
  • When Habakkuk was pained by life’s injustices, he honestly talked to God about them. This week I will do the same when doubting God’s presence, goodness and ability. I’ll go to God in prayer and honestly say what I’m feeling.
  • After Habakkuk prayed, he confidently waited for the answer. I want to do the same. This week when I pray, I want to confidently wait upon God for the answer.
  • Constantly hearing about the evil in the world discourages and frightens me. I need to remember that I have a choice as to what I see and hear. This week, I want to be mindful of what type of news I am listening to. I want to make sure that the “good” news takes precedence.
  • Many times justice does not happen as I think it should. This psalm and other places in the Bible make it clear that evil will not go unpunished. This week when I am tempted to doubt God’s justice, I want to read psalms like this one and remember that God is watching and at His given time there will be justice, which might not be on earth.
  • It is a dumb thing to worship an idol. Unbelievers are not the only ones to worship them. I worship “things” that I dumbly think will rescue me. I need to tell myself the truth about gods versus God. This week, I want to remember and rehearse (in my mind) how much stronger, alive and willing my God is by going over past victories and relevant Scripture.
  • When I get weary of the evil on this earth, I want to remember that this is but a dot in time. This week I want to worship by meditating on the idea of God’s glory filling the earth.
  • Sometimes God is silent to the cries of Believers, even to my cries. This does not mean God is unloving, weak, displeased, etc. This week I want to take God’s silence in stride. I want to tell myself that God’s plans are not mine. And when I don’t hear back from Him, I can still trust and rejoice in Him.
  • Sometimes Believers experience evil. I’ve been the butt of evil. These types of experiences can cause one to doubt God’s goodness and/or sovereignty. This week when I doubt God, I want to discern what lies I believe. Then I want to replace those lies with truth from Scripture.
  • Habakkuk ended his book with deciding to rejoice in the Lord despite the evil around him. His rejoicing took the form of reviewing God’s mighty deeds in song. This week I want to choose to be joyful in the Lord. Some of that rejoicing will be in song.

Would you share your gleanings?

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Habakkuk Gleanings in Three Areas: God, Believers and Unbelievers

What does this passage teach us about God or His creation or their relationship to each other?   

I have organized my thoughts around 3 areas: God, Believers and Unbelievers.God . . . 

  • Sometimes the Lord is silent and does not answer the call of His people
  • How God rights unjust situations is not always understandable by man.
  • Sometimes God uses the wicked to punish His people.
  • God’s timetable regarding justice is not the same as man’s timetable.
  • God will answer at the appointed time, when He sees fit.
  • One day God’s glory will fill the earth and not all this greed, violence, covetousness, murder, drunkenness and idolatry.
  • The Lord is alive, on His throne and has an actual dwelling place.
  • God has placed prophecies in the Bible. (more…)

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