Bible Study · How To

HOW TO: How to Meditate on God’s Word

HowTo

I love God’s Word and delight in its truth. Yet too often I find that after reading my Bible or hearing a sermon, the truth, so necessary to the well being of my soul, can too easily slip away. The truth that had for a moment captured my attention and my affections can quietly fade amid the clutter and noise of the day.

One of the best ways to remedy this is to practice the spiritual discipline of meditating on God’s Word. It is a discipline that takes time and intention, but one that brings great benefit to the soul. We need to carve out time to lay hold of the truth of God’s Word.

It is a bewildering paradox of our day that the Bible can be so accessible and yet so marginalized. On the one hand our technology has brought God’s Word close at hand. It’s on our phones and tablets and computers and iPods. We have almost immediate access to several versions of the Bible as well as a wealth of sermons and commentaries. But this same technology also threatens to distract us and drown out God’s Word. We have become a culture obsessed with noise and comfortable with clutter. So many sources are bringing input into our lives: TV, radio, online news feeds, Facebook, Twitter…. More than ever we need to make time to meditate, to dwell in God’s Word.

Meditation is pondering the Word in our hearts, preaching it to our own souls, and personally applying it to our own lives and circumstances. It is how we sanctify our thinking and bring it into submission to Christ—taking every thought captive. Paul tells us in Romans 12:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

[All Scripture references are ESV unless otherwise indicated.]

In Psalms 77 Asaph uses three verbs that capture the essence of meditation. When he finds himself perplexed and troubled and cries out to God, he determines to steady his soul by looking to God and laying hold of truth. He says in verses 11 and 12:

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
Yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
And meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:11-12).

Asaph uses 3 verbs in the Hebrew to describe what it means to lay hold of truth: He says: I will remember, I will ponder, and I will meditate.

He begins with remembering (zakar)—calling to mind “the deeds of the Lord” and His “wonders of old.” He intentionally takes note of truth and draws it back into his thinking. Asaph reflects on what God has accomplished for His people in the past—events and epics like the Exodus and Passover, the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, the conquest of the Promised Land. He makes an effort not to forget all the Lord has done.

David also speaks of remembering God:

When I remember you upon my bed,
And meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6).

In Psalms 143, when David is overwhelmed with trouble, he uses the same three verbs as Asaph, beginning with “remember.”

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands (Psalms 143:5).

We are a forgetful people and God would have us to remember. Meditation begins with remembering, bringing back into our minds the truths and praises and promises of God.

But, second, Asaph also uses a word that is translated in Psalms 77:12 “I ponder.”

I will ponder all your work,
And meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:12).

This is the verb hagah in the Hebrew. It is found in numerous places in the Old Testament and is translated as “ponder” or “meditate”:

 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And on his law he meditates day and night (Psalms 1:2).

When I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night (Psalms 63:6).

In Psalms 2 it is used of the nations “plotting” against God.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain? (Psalms 2:1)

The word literally means “to let resound.” It is used in Psalms 92:3 of the sound or tones of a musical instrument as it resonates.

On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute, And on the harp,
With harmonious [or resounding] sound (Psalms 92:3).

It is used also in Psalms 9:16.

The LORD is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
Meditation. Selah  (Psalms 9:16).

It is not entirely clear if the use of the word here is a musical instruction for the musicians to play an interlude—letting the instruments resound—or if it is an instruction to the congregation—let this truth resound within yourselves.

We find the term also at the end of Psalms 19:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalms 19:14).

In other words: Let the inward tones of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord…

This is how we want the truth of Scripture to fill us and impact us—as we hear it and sing it and pray it—as Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16, let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! Let it dwell in us in a way that resounds and reverberates in and through our lives.

We see another use of the word in Isaiah 31:4 that helps us understand its intent. Isaiah uses the word in reference to a lion:

For thus the LORD said to me,
“As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey” (Isaiah 31:4)

The word for growl or roar is this word for meditation. Have you ever heard a lion when he roars? He does not just use his voice. His entire being reverberates. This is meditation. Letting God’s Word resound from within the very center of our being.

Meditation involves remembering, and resounding, but finally Asaph speaks of meditating.

 

I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds (Psalms 77:12).

This word siyach means to muse and wonder and dwell on—to think deeply about something. Used literally it means to murmur, mumble or talk to yourself.

In a negative sense it can mean “to complain.” It is the idea that something has so taken hold of your thinking that you can’t stop thinking about it. So on the negative side—it troubles you and disturbs you and draws out complaint; but on the positive side—it captivates you and enraptures your thinking so that you “dwell on” it. This is the way we want God’s truth to lay hold of us—so that we can’t but dwell on it, so that it captures our thinking and finds it way into our choices and decisions.

The Puritans thought of meditation this way as they described it as “preaching to yourself.” We take the Word of God that we hear and read, and we mull it over in our minds and then bring it to bear upon our lives in personal exhortations.

It is a word that is found often in the Old Testament, especially in the psalms.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD (Psalms 104:34).

I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways (Psalms 119:15).

Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day (Psalms 119:97).

When we meditate we think about God’s Word. We dwell on it and then as opportunities arise, we preach it to ourselves. We inject it into our thoughts as we make decisions, as we admonish and instruct our souls to choose right things and walk down right paths.

This is the essence of meditation. It is evoking the truth, embracing it and embedding it in our lives. It is intentionally focusing on recalling God’s truth that it might resound in our hearts and become that grid through which we sift and measure our thoughts and actions.

Meditation is a crucial Christian discipline and a vital means of grace that we must treasure and practice. But it is a discipline that takes time and effort. Accessibility can never beat intentionality. Don’t assume that having God’s Word close at hand means you have it close at heart. Carve out time in your day to remember, time to ponder, time to preach to yourself. The world around us can too easily choke out what is needful and good for our souls. Don’t allow God’s truth to slip away from you. Be intentional and diligent and your meditation.

Be blessed,

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(Source: Bible Study Tools and Ken Puls)

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Bible Study · How To

HOW TO: 7 Spiritual Habits that Reduce Stress

HowTo

Some people have called stress the “new normal.” A quick look at the stats seem to support this. A 2012 study at Carnegie Mellon University reports that stress levels were up between 10 to 30 percent over the past 30 years. Among women and young people, those stats were particularly disconcerting. Does the Bible offer any wisdom about dealing with stress in a 21st century world?

The Bible assures us, “God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him.” (Psalm 46:1, MSG) God is there to help. In fact, here are seven actions that will help you handle ongoing stress —

1.  I look to God to meet all my needs. “The Lord is my shepherd so I have all I need.” (Psalm 23:1, NIV) Stop looking to other people to meet your needs. They’re going to let you down, and that’s a big stressor.  There’s no one who could possibly meet all your emotional needs. Only God can meet all of them. Let Him.

2.  I need to obey God’s instruction about rest. Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest.”  (Exodus 34:21, NCV) So much of the stress in your life comes from always being in a hurry and working too much.  That’s why you overwork.  You never can get caught up. Rest is so important that God himself does it. You need it too.

3. I need to recharge my soul with beauty.I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:7-8, MSG) Beauty is an incredibly important part of stress management. Ugliness stresses you out.  Beauty inspires, encourages and motivates.  That’s why God made the world so beautiful. God made man to live in a garden not a skyscraper. When you’re stressed, you need to look at beautiful scenes and listen to beautiful sounds.

4. Go to God for guidance.If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5, NLT)  Not being able to make up your mind is a common source of stress. If you’re wavering back and forth about a decision right now, pray to God for wisdom. Read the Bible. Then wait, be quiet and just listen. At the right time — maybe not immediately — God will put the idea in your mind.

5. Trust in God in the dark valleys. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, NIV) We all go through dark valleys. You’ll go through many in your lifetime. When you’re in a valley, you have to trust God. We can either react to dark valleys in fear or in faith. Fear leads to stress.Faith leads you away from stress. Shadows are scary. But remember — wherever there are shadows, there’s light. Look at the light. Look at Jesus.

6. Let God be my defender. “How I love you, Lord! You are my defender. The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe.” (Psalm 18:1-2, GNT) Conflict is another major source of stress. Some people in your life just don’t like you. They will criticize you and attack you. Our natural response is to attack back. Instead, God tells us to trust Him and let Him defend us. That’s what Jesus did. That’s what we need to do.

7. Expect God to finish what He started in me. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6, NLT) Instead of letting fear of the future stress us, we must realize that God has our best interest at heart. He isn’t finished conforming us into the image of Jesus.  You have two choices for how you look at your future. You can ask, “What if?” and expect everything to go wrong, or you can expect God to keep his promise in Psalm 23:6 (NIV): “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Here are some other practical suggestions to keep in mind as you look to deal with your stress :

Serve someone. Nothing takes your mind off your own troubles like helping someone else. Opportunities for service are all around — from family members, to friends, to neighbors. It’s hard to stress out over your own problems when you’re helping alleviate someone else’s.

 Talk to God about your stress. Stress often comes because we worry about things we were never intended to worry about. Spend time talking to God. Tell Him about what stresses you. Then trust Him to take care of the situation in a way that takes into account both His glory and your best interest. Make your problem God’s problem.

Take a walk. Our bodies were made to move. One of the reasons we wrestle with so much stress in our lives is because we were designed to have more physical activity in our day. Feel stress? Take a walk. Ride a bike. Play a sport. Get outside and get moving.

Phone a friend. You were not designed to handle all your problems on your own. God wants us not only to take our problems to Him but to also share them with others. When stress begins to overtake you, talk to a friend. Share your hurts, fears and concerns. Ask for prayer both in the moment — and days to come. But here’s the kicker with this piece of wisdom, you must cultivate friendships on a regular basis if you hope to have friends available to help you deal with tough times. What regular practices are a part of your life that help you to cultivate friendships on a regular basis?

Enjoy a sunset. In times of stress few activities will put you and God in proper perspective better than enjoying the beauty of the Lord’s creation. Take to heart the stunning nature of what God has made, and you’ll be quick to remember your problems are small in the hands of an all-powerful Creator. Whether you find that beauty in a sunset, a painting, a sculpture or the seashore, find it and soak it in. Remind yourself of just how big your Heavenly Father is and just how able He is to care for your needs.

Write a letter.  Often the perceived source of our stress is no longer accessible to us. Maybe he or she has passed away or just isn’t a part of our lives anymore. Write that person a letter. Tell him or her what’s going on inside of you. Share your frustration.

Be blessed,

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(Source: Rick Warren, Google Image & Pinterest)

How To · Prayer · The Bible

HOW TO: Improve Your Quiet Time with God

HowTo

How many of us start with good intentions with having quiet time with God, but never actually followed through with it? Typically the demands and busyness of life take precedence as well as following our own selfish desires. Behind closed doors, many of us yawn through our quiet times. Instead of rolling over and hitting the snooze button, try one of these ideas for your next quiet time.

Pray to God. Begin your planning with a sincere prayer to the Lord. Let God know that you have the desire to spend quality time with Him and yet you’ve struggled for various reasons. Speaking plainly to Him relieves your guilt and brings in His restoration of peace to your life. (Psalm 5:2)

Choose the best time. Timing is important because we all have commitments to our families, church, work, etc. The best time for you may be early in the morning when everyone else is asleep or perhaps late at night. We all have our own body clock that gives us an idea of our most or least productive times. Choose the time that you sense the most leading from God. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Find a good place. Some of us can find a quiet place in our home for reflection and meditation; while others need to take a walk, bike ride, or car trip to a special place. Wherever works best for you—make sure you find a place with the least distractions so you can focus on what God is directing your life. (Psalm 26:8) 

Write a letter to God about your life. Give it to a friend to email back to you in three months. In the letter, talk to God about the area of your life that are bothering you. Write about how you’d like to grow and what attribute of His you’d like to see more clearly.

Write out and personalize Scripture by inserting your name into promises relevant to your life or current struggles. For example, I would personalize Philippians 4:19 in this way: “My God will supply every need of Daisy according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. Many of the Bible’s promises come to life and seem more powerful and relevant when personalized in this way. Spend some time meditating and praying over verses that you personalize. I once copied a set of verses and string them together as a personalized love letter from God’s heart to my own. I have it framed and hanging in my room. Those personalized verses help me keep a big view of God.

Go on a praise walk. Thank God for everything you see. Take the opportunity to look closely at God’s creation, praising Him for His creativity and the beauty of the world He’s crafted. After hiking for a while, find a quiet spot to read one of the many psalms that describe His creation. Isaiah 40 and Genesis 1 are two other chapters that will help you focus your heart and mind on God’s creative character.

Spend your entire time with God singing and praising Him. Write down your favourite hymn. Church hymnals and books of choruses are great resources to enliven your quiet time with personal worship. You might even try creating a song of your own!

Dance before the Lord like David, who danced “with all his might” (2 Sam. 6:14). David’s dancing was a heartfelt and spontaneous expression of rejoicing. So put on your favorite hymn or praise song, and dance away. Interpretive dance is a wonderful way to express your heart and soul in praise before God. If you enjoy Jewish folk dancing, ballet, or some other kind of dance, dedicate your talent to God.

Write down every sin that continues to haunt you. Then write 1 John 1:9 over each sin. Destroy the list – God has. This is a strong visual reminder of how God blots out your sin.

Write out a Philippians 4:8 list. What is lovely to you, worthy of praise, excellent, etc.? Hang the list in a place where you tend to be grumpy, such as above the washer and dryer or on the dashboard of your car for that frustrating commute!

Pray in a posture you don’t normally use. Try praying on your knees, prone, or standing with your face to the heavens and your hands raised in worship. It’s amazing how simply changing your posture before God can change your attitude and help you experience Him in new ways.

Read a different translation of the Bible. You might consider purchasing a Bible that has several translations in parallel. Reading a new translation or comparing different ones can stimulate new insights into Scripture. If you’ve used and marked up one particular Bible for many years, reading a different Bible will enable you to see the Word with new vision. Because your eyes will not be drawn to notes and highlighted passages from previous study or devotional reading, the Scripture will feel as beautiful and inviting as a fresh snowfall on a crisp winter morn.

Praise Jesus from A to Z. For example, “Jesus, You are amazing…Jesus, You are beautiful…” This activity will challenge you to think deeply about who Jesus is and why you love and serve Him. As you praise Jesus using each letter of the alphabet, spend some time meditating on each word you use to describe Him. Thinking deeply about Him is more important than racing through each letter of the alphabet as fast as you can.

 Write out your prayers to Jesus. You might write them in a journal, or purchase special stationery for these precious letters, as you might do if you were sending a letter to someone you have fallen deeply in love with. At the end of the letter, sign your name, just as you would a normal letter. Something powerful and deeply intimate happens when you record your thoughts and prayers in a letter to Jesus.

Make a list of the hurts and needs in your life. As you come to a verse that shows how God can meet that need, write it down next to that need. Like the letters mentioned above, you can do this in your journal, or separately. You might even create a journal that records only your needs and relevant Scriptures. As you do this, you create your own book of God’s promises!

Spend a period of time fasting from food, TV, or a hobby to spend more time with God.If you’re able, combine your fast with a day at a quiet retreat center, the beach, the mountains, or even tucked away in a library to reflect on God’s Word and His hand in your life.

Girls, please feel free to share your ideas too.

 Be blessed,

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(Adapted: Pam Farrel & Crystal McDowell)

Bible Study · How To

HOW TO: 5 Great Ways to Study Your Bible

HowTo

Psalm 119:11
Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (NKJV)

 

2 Timothy 3:16–17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NKJV)

I have to admit, I get pretty excited about studying the Bible! I love to dig into the Scriptures and discover the amazing depths of truth and wisdom that are there. I’ve heard it said that “the closer you look, the greater the Book!” I’ve certainly found that to be true in my journey.

Over the years, I have found five specific ways of studying the Bible that have been very helpful for me. Since they have been such a blessing to me, I thought I’d take a few moments to share them with you. Here they are:

1. Book Study

This is a Bible study in which you focus on a specific book of the Bible. The idea is that you are seeking to master the content of one specific book. As a part of this study, you will want to research many details about the book, such as the author, recipients, date of the document, general themes of the book, place where the book was written, purpose of the book, people of interest in relation to the book, etc. When doing this type of study, it is helpful to read through the specific book several times. I know one pastor who would read a book 50 times through to master the book.

2. Topical Study

The topical study is an approach to Bible study in which you start with a topic of interest and then trace all the Scriptures through the Bible that relate to that topic. When done properly, this is basically a form of systematic theology. In other words, you are systematically going through the Bible and developing a theology around a specific topic. This is helpful when you want to gain a fuller understanding about what God has to say about a specific issue.

3. Character Study

A character study, also known as a biographical study, is when you research everything the Bible has to say about a specific person in the Scriptures. It can be fascinating and enlightening to gain a fuller understanding of a character from the Bible when you begin to piece together all the things that the Scriptures say about that person. Studying great men and women of faith can help you immensely when you begin to piece together the clues about their lives as they are described from various passages in the Scriptures. And studying the lives of people who fumbled in their faith can also serve as a healthy warning about things to avoid in your own life.

4. Saturation Study

A saturation study is when you decide to completely saturate your mind with a specific portion of scripture. The idea here is that you pull out a specific passage, and then you read that passage over and over and over until your mind is completely filled with every meaning and every nuance from the selected verses. For instance, you might pull Romans 12 out for special study. In this type of study, you might read the chapter perhaps every day for 30 days or so. Or you might choose a short (or long) book of the Bible to saturate your mind. Some have chosen books such as the Epistle of James to read 10, 20, 30 or more times in order to completely soak their minds with those truths.

5. Word Study

The word study is when you take a specific word in the Bible and discover every single way that it is used throughout the Old and/or New Testaments. For instance, you may decide to study how the term Spirit is used in the Bible. And you may find differentiations between the ways that it is used in the Old Testament as compared to the New Testament. Likewise, there are many, many great words that would be helpful for you to study: grace, peace, faith, courage, discouragement, send, devil, idolatry, etc. The list of great words is never-ending.

WARNING: Be extremely careful when studying the Bible. It just might change your life forever!

Be blessed,

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(Source: Chris Rusell & Bible Study Tools)

How To · Prayer · The Bible

HOW TO: BIBLE JOURNALING

HowTo

Bible Journaling is a way for us to express for love for our Lord through art. It is journaling or doodling in the margins of your Bible.  What you draw, journal or doodle is inspired by the Word.

All you need: God’s Word & The Holy Spirit guiding you. AMEN.

Getting started

To get you started, I have complied a  list for your guidance. First, some suggestion for Journaling Bible. My favourite version is the ESV.

544408: ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, TruTone, Chestnut with Leaves Design ESV Single Column Journaling Bible

The ESV Single Column Journaling Bible is a complete redesign of the original Journaling Bible. The Bible text is now laid out in an easy-to-follow, single-column format. Ruled lines in the extra-wide margins match up with each line of Bible text, enabling users to more easily align their notes with specific verses. With high-quality Bible paper and cover materials, the Single Column Journaling Bible is a durable edition for anyone who wants to capture notes, prayers, or personal reflections in their Bible.

NIV Journalling Bible cover image

NIV Journalling Bible

For Bible readers who love to add their own notes, references and personal reflections, this journaling Bible with wide margins and ruled lines is perfect..

369564: KJV Journaling Bible, Imitation Leather, Tan/brown KJV Journaling Bible, Imitation Leather, Tan/brown

Your Bible study will never be the same. . .when you record your observations and insights on the actual pages of the KJV Personal Notes Edition of The Holy Bible. Ideal for journaling, this beautiful Bible, featuring the complete text of the beloved King James Version, also includes super-wide margins for you to record your reactions to God’s Word. At approximately 9.00″ x 6.50″, it’s big enough to read and write in—but small enough to carry comfortably.

The KJV Holy Bible: Wide-Margin Personal Notes Edition makes a desirable gift—for others or even yourself!

503863: ESV Journaling Bible, Antique Floral design, Hardcover ESV Journaling Bible, Antique Floral design, Hardcover

With its wide-margin, ruled format, and special outer design, the ESV Journaling Bible encourages your conversations with God and enhances your personal study of the Bible.

49655: ESV Journaling Bible, Natural Leather, Brown, Flap with Strap ESV Journaling Bible, Natural Leather, Brown, Flap with Strap

The one-and-only Journaling Bible provides the perfect way for you to keep a journal of your spiritual life right inside the Bible that you read and study each day. With covers and formats that look like the finest journals, the Journaling Bible features 2-inch ruled margins for writing observations, reflections, prayers, praises, notes, and journal entries. This unique Bible makes a great gift and lasting keepsake for anyone who values God’s Word.

NLT Inspire Journaling Bible 

Inspire is a new single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible that will be a cherished resource for creative art journaling. It is the first Bible of its kind—with over 400 beautiful line-art illustrations spread throughout the Bible.

*** COMING SOON MARCH 2016

9780310444268, NIV Beautiful Word Bible NIV, Beautiful Word Bible, Imitation Leather

The NIV Beautiful Word Bible in hardcover format is an exquisitely designed, full-color Bible filled with 500 illustrated verses that offers a one-of-kind visual treatment of Scripture, encouraging you to understand and experience God’s Word in a fresh way.

*** COMING SOON FEBRUARY 2016

Pens and Highlighters

These pens and highlighters are my favourite, they don’t bleed and I simply love them.

Micron Assorted Colors Ink Pen Set

 

ACCU-Gel Highlighters Study Kit

Sanford Sharpie Fine Point Pen Stylo, Assorted Colors, 12-Pack

Sanford Sharpie Fine Point Pen Stylo, Assorted Colors, 12-Pack

Copic Markers 9-Piece Multiliner Inking Pen Set B-2, Black (MLB2)

Copic Markers 9-Piece Multiliner Inking Pen Set B-2, Black (MLB2)

Prismacolor Premier Markers 7-Pack, Assorted Tips, Black (1738862)

Staedtler Pigment Liner Bonus Sketch Set of 6 Liners for the Regular Price of 4(2 free), 308SB6P

Staedtler Pigment Liner Bonus Sketch Set of 6 Liners for the Regular Price of 4(2 free), 308SB6P

Project Life Journaling Pen Set 3 Pack-Black

Painting, Draw, Pencils, Pens, Watercolour, Paint

For colouring:

Prismacolor 4066 36 pcs Watercolor Pencil Box

 

Peerless Watercolor Joanne Palette Colors

Bella 2-oz. 24-Count Paint Color Sample (Acrylic Paint)

null 2-oz. 24-Count Paint Color Sample

Sakura XNCW-24N 24-Piece Koi Assorted Water Colors Field Sketch Set with Brush

Faber-Castell FBR770168 FaberCastell Gelatos Set – Pastels

Faber-Castell FBR770168 FaberCastell Gelatos Set - Pastels

For stamping:

Stamping Blocks

Stamping Inks Brand – Stazon, Faber-Castell Mix & Match Stamper’s Big Brush Pen,Tim Holtz

Rubber Stamp Date – if you want to date but of course you can write it out instead too

Others:

Stickers

Washi tapes

Tab punch

 

These are just some suggestion for you to choose from. There are heaps other products that I might not have listed.

Just follow your love and start journaling. You start journaling with basic items like a pen and paper, and possibly a few highlighters.

For ideas, try Pinterest.

Be blessed,

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How To · The Bible

HOW TO: Create a Spiritual Vision Board

HowTo

Choosing Your Life Verse

Have you ever been asked what your “life verse” is? You know, the scripture quote that seems to speak to you directly – the one that holds a personal meaning for you. When I first heard of this concept, I was immediately overwhelmed. With more than 31,000 verses to choose from, how could I possibly select just one? How could one verse define my entire life? Even if it seemed to fit now, would it still encourage and strengthen me in 10 years?

That reaction is my typical perfectionist response to any sort of challenge or assignment. I had to remind myself that THIS IS NOT A TEST! That God wasn’t waiting for me to choose the “wrong” verse and then condemn me for failing a quiz. And that there was no rule preventing me from picking a new verse any time I needed one! (After all, there’s a reason there are more than 788,000 words in the Bible – we need to read them at different times in our lives.) With those comforting thoughts in mind, I set off to find my life verse.

Selecting Your Life Verse

The mission took me several months. I tried a few verses on for size in my mind.  I read them aloud to listen to the message behind the words. Wondered how they would serve me as a compass. I couldn’t make a decision. It still felt like such a commitment!

Then one Saturday morning, I was at a women’s retreat exploring the relationship between creativity and spirituality. We were making Spiritual Vision Boards and we were told to begin with our life verse in mind. Naturally, I considered and debated long after everyone else in the room started working on their boards. I eventually settled on a verse – it was more of a random selection based on the pressure to make a decision quickly before the others noticed that I didn’t have a life verse (how shameful!). The verse I selected spoke to me in the moment and has become a guiding force in my life ever since:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5

The weight had been lifted from my shoulders! I had a life verse and I was ready to create a Spiritual Vision Board to honor that verse and give it a prominent place to live in my home.  This was the fun part! The activity gave me an opportunity to engage my right brain and exercise my creativity muscles, which I believe leads to infinite positive change.

How to Create a Spiritual Vision Board (or Spiritual Art Journal)

Step 1: Select a scripture quote. Any Bible verse that seems to be calling your name. Don’t overthink this part. You can make it easy and choose my verse if you want!

Step 2: Gather your supplies: a poster board or art journal; paint, markers or colored pencils; magazines, stickers or colorful paper; glue stick, rubber cement or craft paste; any images or phrases that inspire you.

Step 3: Set the tone. Play some inspirational Christian music. Light a candle or use your favorite essential oil for aromatherapy. Be sure you have an hour of time where you will be uninterrupted so you can fully immerse yourself in the creative process and use the time to reflect on God’s message.

Step 4: Create! Start wherever you feel most comfortable – you may want to paint or sketch an image on your poster board or journal paper. Or you may prefer to flip through the magazines and tear out images and words that resonate with you and arrange them on the board. Just cover your paper, overlapping images and adding decorative items like ribbon or stickers. Be sure to add your life verse somewhere on the board!

Step 5: Reflect. Find a place to hang your Spiritual Vision Board where you will see it daily. Take 10 minutes a day to reflect on the images and say a prayer. My Spiritual Vision Board serves as a daily reminder of my life verse. It invites me to devote my attention to the verse every day and it conjures up memories of the nourishing and rejuvenating retreat I attended.

Praise the Lord!

Be blessed,

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 (Source: Theresa Ceniccola)

How To · Prayer

HOW TO: Four Prayers for Bible Reading

HowTo

Four Prayers for Bible Reading

When we open our Bibles to read, we’re never alone. The Holy Spirit hovers over and in the words of God, ready to stir our hearts, illumine our minds, and redirect our lives, all for the glory of Christ (John 16:14). The Spirit is the X factor in Bible reading, making an otherwise ordinary routine supernatural — and making it utterly foolish to read and study without praying for our eyes, minds, and hearts.

Prayer is a conversation, but not one we start. God speaks first. His voice sounds in the Scriptures and climactically in the person and work of his Son. Then, wonder of all wonders, he stops, he stops, he bends his ear to listen to us. Prayer is almost too good to be true. With our eyes on God’s words, he gives us his ear, too.

How then should we pray over our Bibles? Here are four verses you might pray as you open God’s word.

1. Psalm 119:18: Open My Eyes to Wonder

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). We ask God to open our spiritual eyes to show us the glimpses of glory we cannot see by ourselves. Without his help, we are simply “natural” persons with natural eyes. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand [see] them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14–15).

“Seeing they do not” was Jesus’s phrase for those who saw him and his teaching only with natural eyes, without the illumining work of the Spirit (Matthew 13:13). This is why Paul prays for Christians, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” (Ephesians 1:17–18).

Join the psalmist in praying not just for the gift of spiritual sight, but for the gift of seeing wondrous things in God’s word. Wonder is a great antidote for wandering. Those who cultivate awe keep their hearts warm and soft, and resist the temptations to grow cold and fall away.

2. Luke 18:38: Have Mercy on Me

Pray, like the blind man begging roadside, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” For as long as we are in this life, sin encumbers every encounter with God in his word. We fail friends and family daily — and even more, we fail God. So it is fitting to accompany our opening of God’s word with the humble, broken, poor plea of the redeemed: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13).

Bible reading is a daily prompt to own our failures, newly repent, and freshly cast ourselves on his grace all over again. Prayer is the path to staying fascinated with his grace and cultivating a spirit of true humility.

3. James 1:22: Make Me a Doer of Your Word

Pray that God, having opened your eyes to wonder and reminded you of the sufficiency of his grace, would produce genuine change in your life. Ask him to allow the seeds from Scripture to bear real, noticeable fruit in tangible acts of sacrificial love for others. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). You need not artificially capture one, specific point of application from every passage, but pray that his word would shape and inform and direct your practical living.

Ask that he would make you more manifestly loving, not less, because of the time invested alone in reading and studying his word.

4. Luke 24:45: Open My Eyes to Jesus

This is another way of praying that God would open our eyes to wonder, just with more specificity. The works of God stand as marvelous mountain ranges in the Bible, but the highest peak, and the most majestic vista, is the person and work of his Son.

As Jesus himself taught after his resurrection, he is the Bible’s closest thing to a skeleton key for unlocking the meaning of every text — every book, every plot twist, the whole story. First, “he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27), then he taught his disciples that “everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). And in doing so, “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

The great goal of Bible reading and study is this: knowing and enjoying Jesus. This is a taste now of heaven’s coming delights. “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). This gives direction, focus, and purpose to our study. “Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD” (Hosea 6:3). This forms great yearning and passion in our souls: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Keep both eyes peeled for Jesus. Until we see how the passage at hand relates to Jesus’s person and work, we haven’t yet finished the single most important aspect of our reading.

We are desperate for God’s ongoing help to see, and so we pray.

Be blessed,

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(Source: David Mathis)

How To · Prayer

HOW TO: PRAYER JOURNAL PROMPTS

HowTo

Several weeks ago, I wrote about how to begin keeping a prayer journal.

Today I wanted to share 17 prayer journal prompts to follow up on how to begin keeping a prayer journal. It is a space that you can speak to God and look back at how good he always is, even when we are going thru a turmoil because we are CHILDREN OF GOD.

17 Prayer Journal Prompts

1. Rewrite a favorite Scripture in prayer. Highlight the sentences or words of a passage that stand out in your mind and rewrite it back to God.

2. Write a thank you note for something for which you feel especially blessed. Use words or phrases as if you are talking to your best friend.

3. Tell God how much you love him and praise him for who He is. Write a letter to Him.

4. Write out a list of thanks for everyday things and pray the list to God.

5. Copy a meaningful prayer that someone else has written into your prayer journal. The exercise of writing it in your handwriting provides your brain a way to remember the meaning.

6. Write out a prayer of praise for all God has accomplished in your life. Just make a list of the times you’ve seen him work and thank him for it.

7. Write a prayer on behalf of a loved one. Thank God for them and describe your thoughts about this person to God.

8. Surrender all your thoughts to the Lord by writing out a prayer of giving yourself to him. You may want to list things you hold the most dear and hold them up to him with open hands in full trust.

9. Pray a prayer of blessing over someone you love.

10. Pray for your enemies.

11. Take a prayer walk outside and for everything you see, give thanks. Nature gives us much to praise God for. After taking your walk, grab your journal and plop down in a field or on a park bench. Write out words of praise to God for his creation.

12. Use a list of the names of God to write a prayer of thanks for who he is.

13. Write out a prayer for the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40) and ask God to show you your part in ministering to the homeless, disabled, or the elderly. Ask God to specifically show you the special needs you can meet right where you are.

14. List out your priorities or decisions you must make in the next week. Give them to God and ask him to lead you every step of the way.

15. Rewrite your church prayer list needs and pray over them, asking God to meet those needs.

16. Use a journal entry to pray for your local leaders, community, church and business. Write out any specific needs of which you are aware and give them to God.

17. Copy the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13. Then rewrite the prayer using your own words.

Which idea excites you the most? Or do you have a prayer journal prompt you’d like to share?

 

Be blessed,

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Bible Study · How To · Prayer

HOW TO: 8 Tips to Get More out of Your Bible

HowTo

 8 Tips to Get More out of Your Bible

Are you discouraged with your Bible reading? Find it hard to be consistent? Want to get more out of the Word? Here are a few tips that have helped me to be more consistent and enjoy my devotions more over the years.

1. Prepare the night before

Every night before going to bed, I grind some coffee, put a filter in my Aeropress coffee maker, put my coffee cup on the counter and fill my Hot Shot with water, so all I need to do is push a button to heat the water for my morning cup o’ joe. I make sure everything I need – Bible, marker, journal, Kleenex – is on the stand next to the couch in the den. This saves me having to scramble around wasting time in the morning, and I can get reading more quickly.

2. Pray

I usually spend a couple minutes praying before I read. I thank my Father for his love and the gift of sleep, and for protecting my family and me during the night. I also thank him for his gracious invitation for me to enter boldly into his presence through the merits and blood of Jesus. Then I often pray John Piper’s I-O-U-S: “Incline my heart to your testimonies,” “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your word,” “Unite my heart to fear your name,” and “Satisfy me with your love.”

 

3. Same time, same place every day.

Find your best time, when you can concentrate and have the least number of distractions. For me, it’s first thing in the morning. The house is quiet and no one else is up. If I start in on projects or reading the news, I never get to reading the Bible. In the evening I’m too distracted and tired. For some, evening is their best time. The important thing is to find a time when you are least distracted and can concentrate.

I read in the same place every day. As I said earlier, I keep my Bible, marker, journal and prayer notebook on the end table next to the couch in the den. That way I don’t have to waste time searching through the house for things before I read.

4. Keep track of what you read

After reading, in the back of my journal I write the day, date, and the passage I read. That way I don’t have to try to remember where I left off the day before. You can use a bookmark as long as it doesn’t fall out and you lose your place.

5. Write in your Bible

Don’t hesitate to underline, write in the margins, or circle words. Underlining and writing helps us concentrate more on what we’re reading. My favorite marker is a light blue Sanford China Marker. You can underline lightly or darker and it never bleeds through the page.

6. Read consecutively

Don’t skip around or play Bible Roulette. Finish one book before going to another. One way to consistently read through the Bible is to read through Matthew, then Genesis. Then Mark, then Exodus and so on. If you are keeping track of what you’ve read, you’ll eventually work through the whole Bible. Nothing is more discouraging than picking up the Bible and reading at random every day.

7. Use a journal

I’ve used journals for years in my devotions. I like Moleskine lined journals. As you read, write down any verses that stand out to you or any thoughts you have about the passage. Writing slows you down and helps you focus. I usually try to look for one key verse or passage that stands out to me from that day’s reading to record in my journal.

8. Respond to what you’ve read

After recording one key verse or passage in my journal, I usually write a prayer in response. This prayer will sometimes be worship and praise to God for the truth I’ve just read about him or it may be supplication for him to change me to conform with his word. I keep the prayer to one, maybe two pages at the most. It takes me about ten minutes and propels me into my prayer time.

Whether you use these approaches or you have your own, try to build consistent habits of reading the Bible. There’s no better way to fellowship with Jesus and delight in him.

 

Be blessed,

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(Source: Bible Study Tools)

Beth Moore · How To · Prayer

HOW TO: 20 PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY LIBRARY

HowTo

 So, where do we even begin to create a personal bible study library? That’s what this post is for. Here are a few examples to start your library and of course, the sky is the limit.

1. A Complete Concordance (like Strong’s).  Find one that corresponds with your translation (Strong’s for KJV, The NIV Exhaustive Concordance, etc.)

2. A good Systematic Theology Book. Here are two great choices:

*Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

*Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson

3.  A good Bible Dictionary – Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is terrific. There are also many others.

4.   For beginners: Several two (or few) volume sets of Bible Commentaries (My mentor started me on The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament and New Testament Volumes, but there are plenty out there. Your pastor may be able to recommend a set that is most reflective of your church’s approach.)

*You can access many commentaries free of charge online: BibleGateway.com, BlueLetterBible.com, etc.

5.   The 1st multi-volume set of commentaries I’d recommend is The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (12 Volume Set). They are consistently well written, thought provoking and really practical for teachers. You also don’t have to know the basics about the original languages to understand them (They give good insights into the original languages and frequent definitions, but the authors are not assuming you have a working knowledge of Hebrew or Greek). If you really love that set and want to keep going, the next step I’d take would be the full volume sets of NIVAC (NIV Application Commentary) and NAC(New American Commentary). Want to keep going?? The next step after that (where you’ll more often need some basic knowledge of of the original languages) is the Word Biblical Commentary series and New International Commentary of the OT/NT series. And it goes on and on, Sweet Thing! And it’s a head spinner and a blast.

6.  A Comparative Study Bible with multiple translations listed side-by-side.

And, then, start saving your money for Bible Software.   Melissa and I have personally used the following programs and would happily recommend them to you:

  • Logos
  • Wordsearch
  • BibleWorks
  • Accordance

Last thing:

A few of my favorite foundational books about the Bible are:

Baxter’s Explore the Book

Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth

Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible Book by Book

Last Last thing:

In terms of selecting commentaries, I highly recommend purchasing and consulting John Glynn’s book Commentary & Reference Survey. Glynn’s book will help you make the most of your money when you purchase commentaries and reference works.   The book is basically one massive biblical studies bibliography and he updates it often.  I think it is already in its tenth edition or something.  When it comes to commentaries, not all volumes in a series are written equally.  In other words, some are better than others and so you may not want to purchase an entire series.  Sometimes you can grab an entire series for a great price but other times it isn’t economical or necessary. Instead, you may want to pick and choose individual volumes within a series and Glynn will help you do just that. Also check out www.bestcommentaries.com for a similar idea online.  It is an amazing website.  My favorite feature is the “forthcoming commentaries” tab where you can browse through the commentaries that are due to be published over the next few years.  Also, it goes without saying that commentaries, just like every written work, should be read carefully and critically.  If they are read in such a manner, they can be invaluable to one’s study of the Bible.

 

Be blessed,

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(Source: Beth Moore)