HABAKKUK: 3 week study

Hello everyone!

We are so excited to continue an online Bible study series, Major Wisdom through the Minor Prophets. Each month we are focusing on one minor prophet by walking through a chapter weekly. The monthly study in June will only last three weeks.

Together we will discuss and reflect on our readings via Zoom. In each study, we will dig deep into Scripture and practice embracing the AMPS Bible intake method. Feel free to join us for a month at a time. Habakkuk will begin June 14th at 6:00 p.m. Again, this study will only last three weeks and each meeting will only be one hour in length.

June 14thChapter 1

June 21stChapter 2

June 28thChapter 3

Please email the Refining Ministry by June 11th if you would like to participate in this study. We will send you the link and additional materials for the study once we hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions!  Also, if you know of anyone who might be interested in attending, please forward this information to them. 

In His Name,

Genna Stotts

P. S. – Refining now has a direct email account: refining.journey@gmail.com

How Can Bible Intake Be Visual?

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

Hello! How are you this last full week of May? Good news-a three day weekend is on the way for many. The month of May seems to be a busy time with graduations, Mother’s Day, end of summer year, etc. However, it has been nice to enjoy some of these occasions in a somewhat “normal” setting this year.

In the education world, tapping into all modalities of learning is essential. Educators have to be creative in making the text come alive and extending opportunities for those digesting the material to do the same. This is no different for each of us when studying Scripture and ensuring our Bible intake sticks. Making those mental connections and embedded the overall message into our schema is necessary to ignite the transformation of our heart and mind.

Transparency moment: Scripture exposure has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Yet, most of my life it has gone in one ear and out the other. Oh when I first hear or read a promising message, I am so inspired and feel two inches taller, but once life slaps me around a couple of times (usually less than 24 hours later) I seem to be clueless. Why didn’t the takeaway stick?

God has captured my attention in recent years concerning engaging in His Word and allowing it to transform. (the capture was a three letter word-PIT!) I have always equated the Bible as a life manual and valued the power of its words, yet the struggle to infuse my innermost parts with Scripture was very real.

I have read, heard, and tried all kinds of advice-read more, study more, pray more, add in-depth Bible studies to your routine, buy a Bible dictionary, purchase a set of concordances, download this application, get assess to these Bible translations, mark all these websites as your favorite, follow Bible scholars regularly, listen to online sermons, go to conferences, join this Facebook group, etc. These are all terrific ideas and suggestions, but when I first wanted to make a significant change in my Bible intake-adding a million different things without addressing what would really make Scripture stick for me personally just made my life even more complicated. I didn’t know where to focus-everything was over the top good! I wanted engagement not involvement. I just made the issue a frustrating and exploding PROBLEM.

So I began embracing simplicity. Taking bite-size portions daily and setting myself up for success. I could not process the fire-hose information coming towards me. It took me addressing my attempted failures and laying the issue at the feet of God. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see the answer was really simple-get out of the way and let Him lead.

Today, I want to share with you one way I have found to make God’s Word a visual in my life. If you wrestle with making the Bible come to life, I pray you are encouraged to embrace new ideas and are filled with God’s discernment to what will work best for you. Start small and give the Holy Spirit the permission to guide your efforts so the transformational power can ignite and change you inside out.

ONE WAY I MAKE SCRIPTURE VISUAL:

  • I pause and pray before reading God’s Word.
  • I read/reread and intensely study one chapter in the Bible weekly.
  • After praying and meditating over the information, I narrow my focus to a verse/s I feel the Holy Spirit is drawing me to fully digest.
  • I write out the Scripture.
    • The physical act allows me to take ownership.
    • It brings my focus to the words within the verse/s.
    • I seem to remember the Scripture from writing it.
    • The product becomes a snapshot of God speaking directly to me.
  • Sometimes I am drawn to one word within the copied Scripture.
  • I display it for a week and read it throughout my day.
  • I add my own flair to it. (can’t exactly call it art-lol!)
This is what must be done: When he sits down on the throne of his kingdom, the first thing he must do is make himself a copy of this Revelation on a scroll, copied under the supervision of the Levitical priests. That scroll is to remain at his side at all times; he is to study it every day so that he may learn what it means to fear his God, living in reverent obedience before these rules and regulations by following them. He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions. If he reads and learns, he will have a long reign as king in Israel, he and his sons. Deuteronomy 17:18-19 (MSG)

Here is an example:

Steps I took:

  • I read Chapter 2 of Nahum.
  • I wrote out the verse which stood out to me to take ownership. (I choose two colors to distinguish the two thoughts presented.)
  • Then I selected one word which stood out to me. (I circled restore)
  • I displayed the card in a prominent spot. I read it over and over throughout the week and let it saturate my thinking.
  • We had a horrific hailstorm which wiped out our tender garden plants and many of the flowers we had planted. After walking through the yard to access the damage, restoration came to mind. I began to ponder the promise of God’s healing after the “destroyer” laid everything to waste. My mind went straight to a blossom. So, I took the card & drew a flower. It was a symbol of God’s promise, the beauty we find when we take refuge in Him, and the healing He will extend.
  • The card is a visual reminder of the message the Lord gave me. At the end of the week, I wrote my overall takeaway on the back of the card.

If you are a “visual” learner-start with just writing out Scripture once a week and allow it to saturate your thinking. Please do not make it complicated. You just need a Bible and a willingness to let God’s Word change you. Investigate ways to make the Bible come to life for you. Ask God for His discernment and help. You will be amazed at what He will reveal.

Share your thoughts. I would love to hear what you do routinely. Blessings and prayers to you, my friend.

Enough Already!

“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 
James 1:15 (ESV)

Violence, destruction, cruelty, heinous crime, unbelievable loyalty to killing, hate, injustice…when will it ever stop? Throughout history, we see examples of sin manifesting itself into hearts and becoming full blown issues in the world. Take a look at current times. The news is painted with scene from Israel as rockets enter the land and citizens scramble for shelter. And why? How can this be? What causes differences to escalate to levels such as these? What is the root cause of this ongoing behavior?

We probably all would agree on the three letter word: Sin. However, what is sin? 1 John 5:17a (KJV) says, “All unrighteousness is sin…” 1 John 3:4 (NLT) states, “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” And, not to be a Debbie Downer, sin entered mankind through Adam and Eve therefore, this issue is a struggle for all humanity.

In chapter one of Nahum, we find our precious God defined as Holy, righteous, and the perfect representation of purity and light. The supreme authority, able to judge the hearts, minds, and actions because He is all knowing. There is none greater than Him although the enemy has tried. (Isaiah 14:12-15). Nahum reminds us that God is loving and patient, but there comes a time when He says Enough Already!

When reflecting upon this, gardening comes to mind. We have several large clusters of ornamental grass throughout our flowerbeds. There are years when last year’s growth isn’t cut down soon enough and new growth begins to appear. Unfortunately, the dead stalks begin choking out the current sprouts and effect the overall production. It can cause the grass to not fill in completely and be all it could possibly be. So, at some point we have to deal with it and say Enough Already! (As you can tell from the picture above, we got a little behind on the task.)

Sin has a way of choking out our spiritual growth as well. In Romans 6:23 (KJV) we read, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Sin can slowly creep into our lives and eventually take over if we don’t stay on top of it. Much like the grass, once it gets out of control it is a hard task of dealing with it. Little by little, pruning and separating useless debris from productive areas is not for the faint of heart. It is never fun and exposes more than we ever knew was there. (Just like the two wheelbarrows full of dead stalks removed.)

God is slow to anger and very patient with us. He loves us beyond measure, but we must know that at some point He will utter the words, Enough Already! Nahum 1:3 (ESV) The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Our sweet Lord has given us free will and wants us to draw close to Him. God provided His Son as a sacrifice and extends the gift of forgiveness if we are open to receive. John 3:16 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He went even farther by giving us His Word as a roadmap to living and the Holy Spirit to guide us daily. The Father wants us to deal with our sins and stay under His authority. It is not an easy task and it does require discipline and dedication to live life according to God’s ways. But–oh the reward, the transformation, the renewal, the fruit, and the list goes beyond our human comprehension. Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV) I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Is there a part of your life you can identify as Enough Already! I know there is for me.

Psalm 86:5 (ESV) For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

Psalm 86:1-17 (ESV) Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

NAHUM: 3 week study

Dear friends,

I want to let you know about an online Bible study series I am excited to be facilitating! It is called Major Wisdom through the Minor Prophets. Each segment will focus upon one minor prophet by walking through a chapter weekly. These monthly studies will begin in May and continue throughout the remainder of the year. During the summer months, each series will only last three weeks. This will give you a break between each segment and allow you some time to saturate your life with the learning from each series.

Together we will discuss and reflect on our readings via Zoom. In each study, we will dig deep into Scripture and practice embracing the AMPS Bible intake method. Feel free to join us for a month at a time. We will begin Nahum on May 17th at 6:00 p.m. Again, this study will only last three weeks and each meeting will only be one hour in length.

May 17th-Chapter 1

May 24th-Chapter 2

May 31st-Chapter 3

Please email the Refining Ministry by May 10th if you would like to participate in this study. We will send you the link and additional materials for the study once we hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions!  Also, if you know of anyone who might be interested in attending, please forward this information to them. 

In His Name,

Genna Stotts

P. S. – Refining now has a direct email account: refining.journey@gmail.com

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