Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How To Study The Bible With Purpose-Part 2

Where do you start and what do you study?

There’s really no wrong place to begin...just begin!

Let's say you are dealing with an anger issue and you want to know what God's Word says about anger. Turn to the back of your Bible’s concordance to look up anger. Scriptures relating to the subject of anger will be listed there. Or, you can do an online search of one of the many online sites such as www.biblegateway.com

If you can’t think of anything right away, thumb through the concordance in the back of your Bible and see what jumps out at you. Begin looking at all scriptures referenced with this subject. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you, and reveal things to you. Or use a devotional to get you started. There are hundreds to choose from, such as the one you are reading now :)

Here are four steps you can take to begin digging into God’s Word :

1. Purposely set aside time. Make an appointment with God. If mornings work for you,great! If not, find a time that does…even if it’s not every day. Whatever works for you is what you should do. Just start somewhere and you’ll see the fruit that this time brings to your life!

2. Make preparation for your Bible study. Study in a place that you enjoy and are comfortable. Find a place to study that fits your style. For example, if you like to spread out your study materials, choose a desk or table.

3. Have all your materials available. You’ll want of course your Bible, but also get a good Bible dictionary, concordance, a pen and paper. That way, you don’t have to stop every few minutes to search for a book or supplies.  A basket holding everything you might want during your study time is convenient and saves time.

4. Prepare your heart. Talk to God about things you may need to confess, and enter your study time peacefully and without anything that may block you from receiving revelation during your study.

Make the time to study the Bible. The Word is alive! Living it out can change your life. You’ll begin to experience a level of peace and joy that comes from knowing God's Word.

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do. 2 Tim 3:16-17

Friday, February 15, 2013

How To Study the Bible With Purpose-Part 1

The Bible is no ordinary book. The words within its pages are like medicine to your soul. It has the power to change your life because there is life in the Word! (See Hebrews 4:12)
And when you discover the power and truth of God’s Word, you will begin to see changes in your life that only this truth can bring. You will even learn how to recognize what the enemy tries to bring against you.
The good news is, it won’t take you 30 years to know what you need to know. Just begin where you are right now and determine to stick with it!

Every time you study the Bible and pay attention to what you’re reading, you’re learning something.
Read and meditate on the following scriptures, embarking on your own personal study.
Proverbs 4:20-22
Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body.

 John 15:3
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

John 15:7
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

Psalm 119:28
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Time With God

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Mark 1:35 NLT

When we set aside a specific time to get quiet and focus on God, we are setting Him as our priority. We are honoring Him as Lord of our life and we are connecting with Him. If you have recently become a Christian, let me assure you that you will hear much on this subject from teachers and leaders.

So what's the big deal about quiet time with God?  Is it important? Yes. Is it biblical? Yes. Are there hard and fast rules to follow? No.

Most of us lead very busy lives. Our days and weeks are filled with family, home and work responsibilities. Women often tell me that they simply can’t fit devotional time into their schedule. It just seems impossible to add one more thing to the calendar. One of the main reasons this sounds impossible is the misconception that there are certain rules we must follow. The desire to “do it right” often keeps us from trying. The most important step is to start somewhere!

  1. Set an appointment with God, even if it is only a 15 minute time slot.  The more time you spend with Him, the more time you will want to spend with Him.  
  1. Remove yourself from chaos and activity. Here are just a few practical ideas. (Get creative to fit your particular life schedule) 
·         Set aside devotional time in your car on your lunch hour from work.
·         Read passages of scripture during children’s naptime.
·         Listen to worship music/read scripture early in the morning before anyone else is up.
·         Use a devotional book to guide you and structure your time.
·         Build a habit by scheduling your God time at the same time every day.
3.     Listen to praise and worship music to still your mind and quiet your thoughts.
Our daily appointment with God is so important that we must make a conscious effort every day to spend time with Him.
Everything works better once we get our priorities straight-and our relationship with Him should be our first priority.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Condemnation or Conviction?

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
As a born again Christian, it is important that we know that there is a difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the enemy of our soul. We must know the difference in order to walk in true freedom!

Condemnation comes from Satan and is meant to tear us down. It continually points out what a failure we are, or how badly we've messed up.

God never condemns us, but rather the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin or areas of our life that need to change. Condemnation tells us “You are a failure” but conviction says “You are forgiven”.

Here’s an example: Maybe you failed to exercise as scheduled. Condemnation would include thoughts such as: “you are a failure, you have no will power, give up, you are never going to accomplish your goal, you are worthless.”

On the other hand, convicting thoughts would be “exercise is important, according to the scriptures our bodies are temples and we need to take care of them-- start again tomorrow.”

The Holy Spirit wants the best for you and the devil wants to tear you down. We must know and recognize the difference.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. John 12:47

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are You Living a Life of Hope?

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Are you living a life of hope today, right now, this minute? What thoughts have gone through your mind today? Are they hope-filled or hope-less?
Webster’s dictionary defines hope as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had and that things will turn out for the best, (v) to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.”

A hope-filled thought is knowing that things will turn out for the best. A hope-less thought is believing the worst about a situation.

I often hear these expressions: “I hope my marriage will last.”“I hope my kids will be happy.”“I hope I have enough money.”“I hope my business will be successful.”

Are you relying on yourself or others for hope? We can’t “hope” things in to existence. Misplaced hope is placing hope in ourselves, our abilities, our situation or circumstance. As Christ followers, our hope is in Him.

You won’t hear a lot about hope on the evening news or in your daily newspaper. Placing your hope in the things of this world is a mistake and will only lead to disappointment and discouragement. Hopelessness is in the world, but our hope is in God.

As Christians, we should put all of our hope in the Lord and believe that He can do what He says He can do.
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7

Monday, February 4, 2013

Who Needs Integrity?

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Psalm 119:1

Integrity is the quality, or state, of being complete or undivided. In other words, being the same person everywhere you go. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
As Christ followers, we should be separate from the world. We are not to have a superior attitude, or have an attitude that everyone else is 'less than". We are called to be separate in our character. We must have integrity as a character trait.

Have you ever heard the saying that your life may be the only Bible some people read, or the only Jesus they will ever see? People want to know that integrity really exists and we can show that it does by how we live!

Integrity is not about perfection. A person of integrity can still make mistakes or make poor choices. The difference is that a person of integrity will admit mistakes, repent and accept God’s forgiveness.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich. Proverbs 28:6

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fresh Start

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Want a fresh start, a renewal, a clean slate? Congratulations! You’ve had it from the moment you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.

As a grade school student, I loved to be the student chosen to erase the teacher’s blackboard. I felt a certain satisfaction from erasing the old and preparing for the new. There was a feeling of anticipation for things to come. Jesus can erase your past with one swipe of His eraser. The past is past and you are a new person.

To accomplish renewal in our daily lives, we must purpose to change the old and prepare for the new. Scripture will guide us and prayer will give us the strength and fortitude to follow through.

We can have a fresh start each and every day.
Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23