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FREE & FABULOUS: Bible Study Tips-Part 4

Hello & Happy Holiday weekend! Before we jump into the FREE & FABULOUS series, I feel it is necessary to take a moment to pause…

The sorrow, pain, disbelief, anger, fear, and heartbreak are overwhelming. Locally, the week began with two less people and now the week ends with the loss of over 20 lives on a state level. For me, I have very little words-the grief leaves me speechless. While studying Amos this week, I read “prayer is a powerful privilege” and that was made evident through the prayers of Amos. I will cling to the faith that our prayers for all involved and effected by these shooting incidents will be provided the greatest level of comfort, healing, and hope. Father God, hear our prayers.

It was through loss and trials for half a decade that brought me to the place where I am today. Although I never want anyone to experience the deep dark pit and pain, it produced an amazing treasure and drive. It developed a steadfast love for God’s Word like never before and sparked a spiritual maturity ministry, Refining. May the LORD be glorified in all things!

Thanks to technology-we have plethora Bible study aids at our fingertips! Some are simple, easy to find, and user friendly while others take a little more know how.

We have been taking a few minutes after our Monday night online Bible study classes and investigating one resource a week. This week I shared a complicated website I use for Greek/Hebrew word study. Once I saw their reactions, I knew Bible study tip #4 would NOT be this one. 😊    

So…drum roll please…Tip #4 has a fun name-Bible Hub! This study source has over 15 versions of the Bible. It has NIV, NLT, AMP, and ESV, most used ones by our online participants. It is also a multilingual resource!

Let’s dig in.

WHAT IS IT?  It is a great FREE website, or you can download the FREE app. They refer to themselves as an online Bible study suite because they have concordances, commentaries, encyclopedias, dictionaries, sermons, timelines, atlas, devotionals, etc. Bible Hub promotes its site as a quick reference to topical, Greek, and Hebrew study tools. The resource itself is elementary in its layout because everything offered is represented on the main page. Don’t be afraid of the acronyms-just hover over them and they reveal exactly what they are.

What captures me the most is their mission:

1) Increase the visibility and accessibility of the Scriptures online.
2) Provide free access to Bible study tools in many languages.
3) Promote the Gospel of Christ through the learning, study, and application of God’s word.

WHY I USE IT? This website gives me an easy-to-use online resource to ‘unfold’ the main verse I want to research more throughout my week. First, I select SUM to read the complete summary of the book. Next, I click on OUT and receive a complete outline of the book. How easy is that! This provides me an understanding of where this verse falls within the overall layout of the message on the Bible book.

Then, I compare versions of the passage on one page by selecting Parallel. It also provides context and cross references for the selected verse. Finally, there is the word study option. You will either see Hebrew or Greek as an option. Once I click on this, the entire verse breaks down into word parts and the original language, spelling, and meaning appears. (WHAT? All on one site!)

Of course, the website doesn’t stop there. There are sermons, concordances, atlas, commentaries, etc. available to help deepen your understanding.

I have grown to love this site because it aligns with my spiritual discipline of drilling down into a verse to discover meaning, cross references, original language, Biblical examples, attributes of God, and direct personal understanding. (Sidenote: I am invested in Scripture Notebooking) It is a wonderful supplement to my study Bible and is not complicated to utilize.

HOW TO USE IT?

TRY IT: https://biblehub.com/

  1. Go to the site. Click on your preferred translation. Then type in Zechariah 1:3 in the search box. Hit enter.
  2. Now click on the word Parallel. You will see different versions, context (verse before and after), cross references, a commentary, then the verse broken into the original language/meaning (Hebrew).

What do you think? Can you believe it is all in one place? Don’t forget to try the SUM and OUT features. Remember the Bible is NOT in chronological order, so the TIM feature will give you a timeline so you can quickly see where the Bible book falls accordingly.

No special training needed for this my friends. All you need is a little time to click and discover. There is much more to investigate but I am happy to find this website mainly because of the word study it provides.

Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you intentionally drill down into a highlighted verse each week. I would encourage you to approach God’s Word daily by expecting a beautiful revelation of hope, a loving guidance to life, and a new depth of understanding of GOD, the one who loves you the most.

Hug those in your life…find joy in every moment…treasure your relationship with the LORD!

Happy Bible Study journey!!   Until we meet again.

Personal Study of the Bible: I Don’t Know How!

Is there a deficiency in teaching when it comes to Bible Study skills?

Have you ever wanted to do something, but didn’t know how? Think about it-roller blading, swimming, driving, etc. For me, I have always dreamed of ice skating. However, I don’t know how! AND I don’t dare try to do so on my own! WHY? I feel incompetent and inadequate.

I would dare to say most of us have to experience some basic type of instruction and training to learn a new skill. Think about this…We attend school most of our childhood to simply become a productive citizen and function in society. Seems as though this alone takes 13 to 17+ years!

So why do we just assume people know how to study the Bible on their own? God’s Word is the #1 life manual, yet there is little emphasis placed on training others how to study the Bible in many churches past and present.

NO matter our level of knowledge or experience, we are forever students of Scripture, growing in relationship with the Father, and strengthening our faith day by day. Therefore, why not come together in unity and share how to study God’s Word? When will we see the importance of teaching others basic Bible study skills? Will it be time consuming? Could it take more than a year? Is it time for a change?

TRANSPARENCY: I have been in church all my life. Never was I taught how to truly study the Bible and utilize it as a helpmate. Even as an adult I struggled with digging deeper, knowing how to go from text to life transformation, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead, infusing God’s beautiful guide into my everyday living, and so much more… I didn’t know how! I heard the suggestions from the pulpit, but no one ever got down to the “nitty gritty” and shared their strategies nor took the time to teach the “how to” of personal Bible study.

Out of sheer desperation for half a decade, I searched high and low to teach myself how to study and infuse God’s Word. I watched videos, enrolled in “how to” courses, read a ton of books, and tried a multitude of things! I refused to accept my deficiency and I took full ownership of my training needs.

The realization of my lack of training has placed a fire within me for others who struggle knowing how to study the Bible on their own. I never want anyone to experience my feelings of inadequacy and lack of skills.  

Please understand—I am NOT an expert in the field by far!!! I am just an ordinary person with lots of experience-failures & successes, who has a heart to walk alongside others and share some of the tried-and-true methods to studying the Bible on your own. This is how Refining Ministry began.

Refining Ministry strives to bless others by showing them how to go beyond the text. We know the importance of sharing simple Bible study tools and methods to assist in transitioning from accumulating knowledge to living under Biblical authority and encountering a true and lasting transformation the LORD promises!

We would love to hear from you and your thoughts. It is our hope that you will prayerfully approach this subject and ponder its importance regarding growing in relationship with God for all levels.

Does your church offer “How to Study the Bible” classes? Is this something you can facilitate? Would you like to increase your own “how to” knowledge? How can we each take ownership in a change for future generations?

Come join one of our retreats, workshops, or online Bible studies. Reach out to us if you might have an interest in sponsoring a workshop in your area. Let us share with you some of the ways we have found to go beyond the text and keep the spiritual journey fresh and personal.

We believe GOD IS…the most valuable investment along with His Word!

We cannot wait to equip you with ways to enhance your personal Bible study.

FREE & FABULOUS: Bible Study Tips-Part 3

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And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Colossians 1:9 ESV)

Welcome back to our FREE & FABULOUS series! I might should have entitled this Part #1/2 so it would line up in number order in which I typically use these tidbits to study. 😊  SOO…with that being said-we hope you enjoy this series of Bible Study tips and use them in any order you like.

Tip #3 (or tip #1/2) is for anyone who wants a general overview to begin a study for an entire book of the Bible. I enjoy having a brief introduction to the author, timeframe, location, original audience, etc. Since the Bible isn’t in chronological order, I tend to need a bit of background information and overview to get started. Thanks to technology and wonderful resources, these things can be available at a click of a button!

Let me introduce BibleProject About BibleProject | BibleProject™

WHAT IS IT?  It is a great FREE resource for a quick overview to any book of the Bible by going direct to their website. Also, they are easily assessable through YouTube OR you can experience these animated snapshots through the YouVersion app on a mobile device.

These videos are valuable resources because they are understandable, quick, and engaging. This non-profit organization created a simple way for Scripture to be introduced without any religious denominational twist. The visual storytelling resource has only been around since 2014, but their audience has grown tremendously to over two-million viewers!!! WOW!  

WHY I USE IT? I am far from a history buff! As a matter of fact, it is one of my least favorite things. However, once I began my journey of strengthening my relationship with God through the authority of His Word, my outlook on Biblical history changed completely. The quick summary helps me connect with the passage by knowing the purpose of the book, the main message, a short outline, and the writer’s delivery. These animated stories allow me to visualize the Scripture, the theme, and details which I feel I might otherwise miss through just reading through the book on my own.

It sets the tone for me. My mind begins to ask questions and my curiosity delivers motivation to dig deeper. Honestly, it is like a trailer to a new movie for me! It seems to always be action packed with a plot which leads my heart, eyes, ears, mind, and spirit to Jesus.

HOW TO USE IT?

  1. Click on Watch: Bible Book Overview Videos | BibleProject™
  2. Choose Old or New Testament
  3. Select the book of the Bible
  4. A short-written summary is given for each overview. If the video goes a bit too fast for you. Pause it-replay it-take notes-remember this is a study resource to use the way you need it.

TRY IT: Choose Amos

-Did you picture Amos looking like this?

-Can you feel the complacency from the way Jeroboam was displayed?

-What were your thoughts when the chapters were broke into three categories? Will this help you digest the material?

-Were there unknowns or concerns the video exposed?

This is what you should see:

Now this is just the beginning to Bible Project’s offerings. They have information on how to read the Bible, themes, word studies, visual commentaries, book collection videos, podcasts, bible studies, and so much more!!!

EXAMPLE OF A BIBLE STUDY: Since we have been on a journey in 2022 Discovering God Beyond the Text with our retreats, workshops, and online studies, the bible study concerning God’s attributes captured my attention. Here is the information given on the website, “Would you and your group like to learn more about God’s faithfulness? Download the BibleProject app and explore the Character of God Study, where we dive into five attributes of God that are repeated throughout the story of the Bible.” After reading this introduction, Refining may need to plan a Fall Kick-Off with this study! Would you be interested?

Once again, here is another FREE resource jam packed with a visual type of learning based solely on God’s Word! For me, it is always a welcoming way to gear up for another full book study of the Bible. It has been extremely helpful in our Major Wisdom through Minor Prophets series.

Do you have a consistent group where you strictly study God’s Word chapter by chapter each week? Share these Bible study tips with them.

If you are looking for a group, email us at refiningjourney@gmail.com. We meet every Monday night via zoom for only one hour beginning at 6:00 p.m. (CST) TOO BUSY to interact-driving home from work during this time-delivering kids to events-cooking dinner-no problem-hop on and listen. The LORD knows life can be demanding, but He loves it when we are creative and intentional in the ways we choose to know Him more.

We are truly here for you. It is our desire to walk alongside you and grow in knowledge and faith with the LORD.

Happy Bible Study journey! We will chat soon.    

FREE & FABULOUS: Bible Study Tips-Part 2

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But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 ESV

Hello. Thank you for joining us as we continue our FREE & FABULOUS series! Tip #1 we put into practice immediately with our Amos study group. It was delightful to find various translations of Chapters 1 & 2 as we individually studied the passage prior to Monday night’s meeting. What an amazing time to live—we have a world full of technology at our fingertips and can deepen our knowledge of Scripture at our own convenience. AND-most of these online study tools are FREE!

Tips #2 is for those who want to dig deep into the meaning of God’s Word. If you are like me, I want to consult a commentary mainly when a particular passage captures my attention. However, I don’t particularly want to always consult the set we were given years ago.  

Let me introduce Study Light. https://www.studylight.org/commentary.html

WHAT IS IT?  It is a verse-by-verse Bible commentary where you can search for specific Scripture and have a large collection of commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, and encyclopedias at the click of a button. Some of the Bible commentaries include Clarke, Bridgeway, Coffman, Henry, Barnes, Calvin, Smith, Gill, Kelly, etc. There are over 100 different commentaries used to build this resource. It does have pastoral resources if some of you are leading a Bible study over a particular book of the Bible and need some ideas, sermon illustrations, and the like. There are suggested daily reading plans and daily devotions if this is something you are needing. The site offers solid, foundational material for studying God’s Word.

WHY I USE IT? This online resource has become a new love of mine. In the past I have searched the internet for commentaries, sermons, and videos based on the chapter I was reading/studying. I like this site because I can drill down into the chapter verse-by-verse and receive some of the world’s greatest Bible scholar’s comments all in one location. I have enjoyed finding meaning over a particular verse which stood out to me each week. (Sidenote: I use a Scripture Notebooking plan) It is user friendly and doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles to sidetrack my attention. Although I have my favorite commentaries, this site has given me the opportunity to see Scripture through other’s eyes which I probably would not have entertained/found/read on my own.

HOW TO USE IT?

  1. Click on Bible Study Tools. Then choose your resource (commentary, concordance, dictionary, encyclopedia)
  2. When choosing Bible Commentary-now click on the book of the Bible, the chapter, and then the verse.

TRY IT: Choose Bible Commentary-New Testament 1 John-Chapter 1-Verse 1

Scroll down and look at Barnes’ Notes. You will the verse is broken down into small parts and each is explained in depth. Most of the commentaries give you cross references as well as other Bible study tools to use. I really like this style of commentary because it reminds me a lot of Verse Mapping.  

This is what you should see:

Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible

That which was from the beginning – There can be no doubt that the reference here is to the Lord Jesus Christ, or the “Word” that was made flesh. See the notes at John 1:1. This is such language as John would use respecting him, and indeed the phrase “the beginning,” as applicable to the Lord Jesus, is unique to John in the writings of the New Testament: and the language here may be regarded as one proof that this Epistle was written by him, for it is just such an expression as “he” would use, but not such as one would be likely to adopt who should attempt to palm off his own writings as those of John.

This is one you need to experience. Play around with it a bit and see what commentaries you like best. Like I said, this is a new resource for me! There is a wealth of knowledge on this site. It has been around for over 20 years so I am sure you will find a lot more offered than the small tip I have shared. I will continue tapping into this free resource as I drill down weekly into my Holy Spirit guided Scripture study method.

Let us know what you liked about Study Light.

Happy Bible Study journey!!   

3 Major Steps in Maintaining Spiritual Growth

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Joy, peace, faith, hope — these spiritual blessings are ours if Christ lives in us. These spiritual qualities are indestructible because they have their source in Christ, who is always with us. Because we cannot lose Christ, our spiritual blessings are secure. -Ephesians 1:3

In many of Paul’s letters, such as Thessalonians, he encourages believers to strive for spiritual maturity. His words are always precisely written, and his message has a way of spurring others to embrace sanctification.

As I reflect on Apostle Paul’s writings, I find myself measuring my own pathway and process of being purified by Christ. I wonder what Paul’s message would be if he penned a letter to me. What areas would he address? What clarifications would he need to include? Where would he need to reveal reproof?

Have you ever wondered what your letter might include? What comes to mind when you think about your spiritual growth?

Transparency moment: There was once a time in my life where sanctification seemed like a long list of what to do and not to do. The process felt heavy even though I knew God was the one purifying my life.

I didn’t have a problem embracing the deliberate action on my part, but I became overwhelmed with all the to dos. It was paralyzing. (Remember, I am the queen of doing nothing when I don’t know precisely what to do or how to begin!)   

Over the years I have learned that God is more concerned about my relationship with Him and the intentionality of my heart than all those to dos and not to dos. He wants me to focus on who He truly is and direct all my efforts towards His purpose.

Let me share with you three major areas I have found essential in maintaining spiritual growth:

  1. Continually seeking a more accurate view of God. The more I get to know the LORD’s attributes and characteristics, the less I depend on myself. My view of God is so skewed by my human mind’s eye. However, as I intentionally strive to see Him more clearly and grow to understand His holiness, power, and love, I find myself surrendering more and more to Him. WHY? Because a deeper level of trust, intimacy, and worship develops. Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. -1 Peter 1:3-4
  2. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead. The LORD gave each of us a helpmate living within once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. However, it takes a conscience effort to listen the quiet voice and humble our steps, thoughts, actions, etc. to the discernment of the Holy Spirit. For me, this is essential in my spiritual maturity. I must daily lay down my fleshy desires and permit the Holy Spirit to guide my entire being. This is an ongoing process just like getting to know the LORD intimately.  Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. -Galatians 5:16,17
  3. Spending time in God’s Word. The LORD gave the gift of His words. Throughout Scripture, He reveals Himself to us and provides a life manual for us. Our sanctification progress depends on our deliberate action to read, study, seek understanding, pray, and apply the Bible. …yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. -Colossians 1:22

If you feel overwhelmed by all the “to dos”, understand God never wanted your relationship with Him to be complicated. He is a relational father who is gracious and loving. Take it minute by minute. Get to know Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal who the LORD really is and your role in God’s plans. Stay in His Word and let it transform your life.

If we were to receive a letter from Paul today, I think his main message would be:

Stay consistent-

know God, rely on Him, and live under His biblical authority.

A Visual of going BEYOND the typography

BEYOND the typography
to letting Scripture saturate your life

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

Ponder this if you will…

In a moment’s notice, we can access the Bible on our phone, bookmark passages, and even magnify text if need be. We are blessed with the engagement opportunities afforded to us left and right. It is as painless as downloading an app. Free at that! WOW! Every mode luring each believer to go beyond the typography.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

What more could we desire? A prized prize and adored adornment can be displayed beyond a coffee table. We can showcase it on every device we own and pull up any passage regardless of our location. We can even screenshot verses of interest in the middle of a sermon and share it immediately on social media.

What a welcoming welcome. An opportunity to see past the layout we choose. A chance to experience the life-changing power the words hold. An open invitation to go beyond the charming print. An ability to interact with Scripture through exceeding levels of availability far outweighing anything previously offered. Oh, how attractive, tantalizing, and downright alluring.

Scripture Notebooking can do that for YOU!

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 

James 4:8a (NIV)

EXILED-Does this still occur?

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Hello friends! How are you today? I hope you are wrapped in a warm blanket and enjoying a beautiful fire. Our current 10 degrees, snow, and 25 mph winds are a brutal combination.

I thought I would start by sharing this week’s unique icebreaker during our weekly online class. Several had the opportunity to introduce themselves like this, “Hi, my name is Genna (first name) Corolla (model of your car) and I am being exiled to the land of parmesan cheese (last thing you ate).” It was fun hearing each person add their introduction line as we began our evening.

But why focus on exile? Good question-over and over we see this word, especially in our minor prophet studies. Hosea is no different. As we approached chapter 4, we found charges God had against the Northern Kingdom because of their rebellious lifestyle. The LORD found them guilty of no loyalty, trust, or acknowledgment of Him. Therefore, exile was upon them in the days ahead.

Webster defines exile as “the state or period of forced or voluntary absence from one’s country or home”. In our minor prophet series, we have seen God using exile to capture the attention of those who refused to follow His instructions.

Often than not, exile continues for generations to come. Why? Maybe because of the power of long-lasting consequences. When exile happened, the people would find themselves in a foreign land and sometimes without a temple. It isn’t until then that the people would reflect on their wicked ways. Once they repented the LORD would forgive them but, the exile would normally continue for a period of time.

So, how can this Old Testament prophesy and state of exile apply today?

Could we possibly experience exile?

I cannot answer this for everyone but, let me share my thoughts when reflecting on these two questions:

Does the LORD ever have charges against me and my behavior? Do I ever found myself partaking in sinful actions and turning my back on living under Biblical authority? (Unfortunately, I could write a book!)

Are there times when certain Scriptures, sermons, bible studies, devotions, etc. prick my heart and warn me of the consequences if I continue my disobedience?

As I ponder these questions, I think about reproof. When reproof comes, the Lord wants me to repent and turn from my lawless ways. He knew I would struggle with fleshy desires so He equipped me with two helpmates: the Holy Spirit and His Word. The Lord desires a harmonious relationship with me but, He also allows me to make my own decisions. (My freewill is a thorn at times)

However, when I ignore the LORD’s instructions and continue to sin it is truly spiritual adultery. (Ouch-those words sting!) Therefore, exile will probably come. My sin has separated me from the LORD and He will seem far away because of my own doing. My failed faith might even leave me feeling deserted or isolated from the closeness I once felt with God. This is my “foreign land” time to reflect on my behavior and an opportunity to repent and turn back to the LORD.

My exile-separated from the one who loves me the most-the lover of my soul. This leaves me with another question: How can I avoid exile and stay on track to be successful in my faith?

What are your thoughts?

How would you answer these questions:

 How can Old Testament prophesy and exile apply today?

Could you possibly experience exile?

YADA: How do you define “to know” God?

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We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16 (NIV)

Yada! A term I equate with true success in my life. This word ranks high on my favorite list yet, it has not always been this way.

Yada is a Hebrew word meaning “to know”. I love learning! So, it probably doesn’t come as a shock for those who know me to hear me state my deep feeling for this term. However, there is more to this four-letter word in my life than the surface level.

Visually, the world sees me craving information and textual knowledge. There is no denying it-I do. I would even go so far as to say it has opened the door to a deeper meaning of Yada in my life. This “to know” has placed me on a journey to go beyond textual knowledge of the LORD and really “know” Him for who He is. But remember, I said it hasn’t always been this way.

For many years, my “to know” was for my success. Then my intellectual knowledge of the LORD began transforming my heart and allowing me to redefine what it means to really “know”. Also, I began pursing my definition of “yada” for God’s glory and not my own.   

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By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 1 John 2:3 (NIV)

Due to failures in life and finding myself at rock bottom, spiritual wisdom was gained. I realized that the most important thing in my life was a growing relationship with the LORD. The life change I had to make was to go beyond periodically meeting with God to walking with Him 24/7. Although I still fall short at times, I have set a goal to live with the LORD right beside every moment-because He is.

So, what did this require of me? I have had to learn to say good morning every day, turn to Him first in all circumstances good or bad, trust in His promises, have faith in His attributes, and love Him on a level of complete obedience and count it as an honor. Let me just say-this is a struggle within my flesh, and I continually fight against “gods” taking the LORD’s place.  

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

Making God my firm foundation has been a journey. My desperation caused me to begin taking my relationship with the LORD to new heights and to realize it is an ongoing process. I had to learn to live my life with an open Bible, feed on His Word, and let the Holy Spirit lead. (Boy, that sounds easy when I see those words on paper!)

The difference between “to know” and “TO KNOW!” has been eye opening. My new “yada” has taken me from meeting with God periodically to walking with the lover of my soul continually. The LORD wants this for everyone. He loves us exponentially and craves for us to walk closely with Him in a relationship different from all others. This takes us beyond intellectual textbook knowledge to a deep personal commitment that transforms our heart, mind, and soul.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20 (NIV)

Refinement Ministry exist because of this life changing concept. The goal of the Bible studies, retreats, workshops, etc. is to support spiritual maturity. Hey, we are just ordinary, everyday people just like you who want to seek out this journey with like-minded Christians. We believe in community and the importance of sharing experiences, wisdom, and perspective with each other.

What is your definition of yada? Are you looking for ways to know God on a more intimate level? If so, we invite you to be a part of one of our Bible studies online, upcoming getaways, or weekend workshops. 2022 is dedicated to helping others go beyond text knowledge to intimate knowledge of who GOD IS and experience this through Scripture Notebooking!  

We are so excited to share this beautiful “yada” definition with you. Trust me when I say, it is life changing!

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 1 John 4:2 (NIV)

REDEEMING LOVE found in HOSEA

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“Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ The people of Judah and the people of Israel will come together; they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.” Hosea 1:10-11 (NIV)

The book of Hosea is a love story of a life changing devotion only God can give. Throughout the Bible, the depth, breadth, and width of his sacrificial commitment to us is mind blowing! His love and affection are so evident through Christ Jesus, His Son, who paid the ultimate price for us even while we were still sinners!

Probably much like you, this atonement is not unfamiliar. Most of us have heard the message of salvation throughout our lifetime. However, how many of us really take to heart the redemptive lover of our soul to the point of being completely transformed into His image? As for me, I find myself falling short of the mark as I dig into Hosea.

Recently Francine Rivers’ book, Redeeming Love, has made its debut on the big screen. You may or may not know this, but her writing was inspired by the book of Hosea. This romance novelist was captured by God’s all-consuming admiration Hosea portrays and she developed the plot and characters around her takeaway from this book in the Bible. I read this story many years ago and was mesmerized by her talent. She eloquently delivers a story of fervent, costly love pointing to Christ Jesus and God’s never-waiving, eternal compassion for us.

As I began preparing for this study, the Holy Spirit really caught my attention regarding my relationship with the LORD. Very rarely have I viewed my connection with the father as a marriage, a redemptive one at that! Hosea’s words really brought to light the passion God has for everyone, including me. I found myself spellbound and captivated by this concept in such a riveting way.

In my hypnotic state of mind, I began thinking about my eternal relationship with the LORD. I began asking myself, “How could I fully be in love with God, the way He is with me, if I don’t invest my time in knowing Him the way He knows me? How can I faithfully rely on God if I don’t spend time discovering His attributes? What am I doing to grow our relationship? Is my obedience and devotion on the level the LORD desires? Are there barriers within my life keeping God’s love at bay? Am I allowing Him to captivate every part of my being so He can refine and transform me to be His redemptive bride?”

These questions, along with many others, have led me to seek out God’s never-ending love through focusing on His attributes. I know like most of my deep lasting relationships, it takes time to build a strong bond.  It seems crazy to me not to devote time to knowing the LORD more intimately when I reflect upon what He has promised: to love me no matter what, to fully restore me, to want me despite my warts, to give me hope, to always be beside me, to forgive me of my numerous sins, to be in close relationship with me, and to promise me an eternal home through the salvation found from His own Son’s sacrifice. WOW!

Hosea has given me a fresh beginning to press into defining who GOD IS personally for me. To identify those fascinating attributes and deepen my reliance on the LORD. I want to be grounded in Scripture to know the truth of who the father is really like and how I can grow closer through my reliance on His character and promises.

So, what about you? The father craves interaction with us more than we can possibly know, but we let our life rejections, hurts, earthy measure of worth, past sins, other’s opinions, low self-esteem, etc. get in the way of discovering God for who He really is and allowing Him to love us to completion. What is holding you back? What has possibly distorted your perception of God’s great love? Why do you need redemption in your life?

I pray this study will deliver clarity of who the LORD really is and how He wants to restore through His redeeming love. I am excited to see the different levels of discernment and hope God provides as our group on Monday nights draw closer to Him through His Word.

In what ways are you looking to receive Redeeming Love from the LORD? Come join us on Monday nights for one hour (6:00 pm CST) via zoom. We would be delighted to have you. Feel free to email us for the link and handouts at refiningjourney@gmail.com. The study is only for 7 weeks!

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