Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Taking Scripture Meaning to New Heights

Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Pexels.com

Have you ever been stumped by a verse while reading through the Bible? I know I have on many occasions.

What about your attention? Have you ever been drawn to a particular verse as you read through a chapter? This is one of my favorite ways of knowing the Holy Spirit is guiding my understanding and directing my pathway. I love “attention” verses. I often write them down and focus on one a week to get a full picture of God, His attributes, and what He is personally saying to me.

This month our church is reading through the book of Mark – a part of the Gospel Era showcasing the fulfillment of the promised Seed God spoke of in the Creation Era. The book is a narrative filled with the life of Jesus, His mighty miracles, delivery of parables, and His death and resurrection. Over and over, each chapter reveals the love story of God which gives us all hope and “good news” to share with the world.

During this time of reading, several verses have captured my attention and deepened my understanding of the Lord. Over and over, I see God’s hand working to reveal His goodness and love in markable ways during Christ’s earthly life. I particularly love how Christ addresses the “legal” acts of the pharisees as He separates the difference between head knowledge/rule followers and a heart of love devoted to living by faith in God.

As many of you know, I am a large advocate of elevating God’s Word to the highest level of understanding and saturation. Many of Refining ministries’ workshops, Bible studies, and retreats are geared to helping followers discover ways to absorb Scripture to the fullest. So, I was captivated by this week’s sermon at our church when Chris Lopez shared a simple way to dig deeper into a focal verse.

He directed his thoughts to Mark 6:2 (NLT)

The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” 

Then, Chris shared how he narrowed down his view by noting words that stood out to him: amazed-wisdom-power-perform. He carefully discovered the Biblical definition of each word and then rewrote the verse using the definitions as a substitute for each word. Here’s the video clip.

https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkx2GzEzbikZVf4sgqUp4p493zXjxaFJw3h

What a great tip!

I decided to give it a whirl and revisit the key verse for Refining ministry:  “I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.” Jeremiah 24:7 NLT

recognize means acknowledge

return means come back

wholeheartedly means completely and sincerely devoted

Defined to read: “I will give them hearts that acknowledge me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will come back to me completely and sincerely devoted.”

WOW! What a wonderful way to dig deeper into God’s Word and search for true understanding. Thank you, Chris, for sharing!

I hope this tip helps you take your Scripture comprehension to new heights.

Creation Era: God Creates Purpose Out of Chaos by guest writer, Kandi Stewart

Hello everyone! What a wonderful three days to be in the Chronological Study Bible and spiraling deeper into God’s love story. I am always amazed at the new insight the Lord provides as I revisit His Holy Word. So many little details fill my mind as I glean from what I have read.

Today Kandi Stewart, a previous co-worker, has agreed to share her takeaway over the role of the Holy Spirit in the creation from her writing on Courage to Conquer Cancer’s Facebook page. When I read over it, I was truly moved by her insight and immediately asked if I could share it with you. She is a dynamic writer, terrific educator, dedicated encourager, and a tough fighter! I hope you are blessed by her writing as much as I was.

God Creates Purpose Out of Chaos

I’ve began rereading the Bible with a focus this year on the Old Testament. Genesis 1-2 is the story of creation I’m sure most are familiar with the story. As I read this, I began wondering what can I take away from this that will make a difference in my life right now. I got stuck on Genesis 1:2 where it says, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

There in the darkness, in the chaos, was the Spirit of God waiting to turn the chaos into purpose. There was a plan. It was good. But before it was good, it was dark, formless, and chaotic. Isn’t this how we view the tough times in our life? We see them as “dark times”, we can’t figure out what’s going on or what the purpose of our lives are so it seems “formless”, or we feel like we’ve lost control and everything is “chaotic”. Yet, there above it all, sits the Spirit of God waiting for us to call out to the Father and have faith that He will create purpose out of the dark, formless and chaotic moments we find ourselves in. Creation didn’t stop in the first week. Creation is ongoing. God is waiting to create a new creation within us by using every dark, formless and chaotic moment in our lives. No, they aren’t good YET, but He has a plan to turn even this (whatever your “this” is) into something amazing!

I’ve read this part of the Bible so many times throughout my life and have never considered once that God’s spirit was hovering over my life just as it hovered over the dark, formless and chaotic universe waiting for me to call out and ask God to create purpose out of all of this!

Kandi’s bio:

Kandi Stewart is a woman who has lived her life at 100 mph with the windows rolled down. She grew up on the Oklahoma/Kansas state line out in the middle of nowhere where one can see for miles and run free like the wild ponies. She is 100% a middle child raised number 3 of 5 children to Cliff and Linda James. The James traits of stubbornness, hard working, and being a fighter run through her core. Her parents raised her in a strong, Christian home, but after the death of her father at the age of 21, Kandi questioned everything she was taught to believe about God and spent the next 20 years in a push and pull relationship with Him.

Kandi married Jonathan Stewart in 1995 and together they have loved and raised 4 children, Chelsye, Tessa, K’Lee, and J.T. From those children have come 6 grandchildren loved deeply by their Nonna and PaPa. Kandi invests a lot of her prayer time on these children and grandchildren as they journey through the mountains and valleys of life.

In 2014, Kandi was diagnosed with breast cancer and would undergo multiple surgeries and chemotherapy in one of the biggest fights for her life. Remarkably, months before her diagnosis her daughter, K’Lee, shared a dream she had of her walk through Heaven. This dream would forever change Kandi’s relationship with God and her understanding of the Word. It would be this dream where Kandi learned what faith is all about leading her to walk through cancer in the light and peace of God Almighty.

Despite being told she no longer showed signs of disease in 2015, her cancer was still running amuck. This past fall in 2022, Kandi’s cancer returned and she stood again at a fork in the road wondering how God would take this mess and turn it into something beautiful. She’s fought cancer with Joshua 1:9 at the forefront of her mind. It is her battle verse.

Kandi believes we were all created by design, no life without purpose, but sometimes it’s hard to understand the whys behind our existence. For many years, Kandi questioned her existence. Now, she knows God has always had a plan for her life, and it is good even when it looks bad on the surface. Beneath the darkness, the light is waiting to burst out with a display like a Panhandle winter sunset. Kandi chooses to live her life today realizing that the smoke from a fire makes that sunset more gorgeous, the fire refines us, and the grass coming up from the ashes is always the greenest for joy always comes in the morning, or the morning after that, but joy comes.

Thank you Kandi for allow Refining Ministry to feature you and your wonderful insight. Our prayers are with you in your fight. Embrace the journey with God’s refinement.

May joy fill your life.

2023: A New Approach

Happy New Year! Can you believe it? We have entered 2023. Thank you for supporting Refining Ministry this past year and being a blog follower. We hope it has played a part in your spiritual growth and encouraged you in your relationship with the Lord.

We are pleased to announce a new approach to studying the Bible in 2023. After several years of offering Bible studies entitled “Experiencing the Power of God’s Word” and conducting small focused sessions online, we felt led to go beyond the normal cycle of Bible study. Therefore, we are spending the entire year offering an opportunity to enhance Bible literacy through a chronological view for anyone wanting to join us.

Here are some primary reasons:

  • Build a relationship with God through His Word, process Scripture and gain personal insight.
  • Digest the material through weekly online meetings with others.
  • Engage without a workbook to exercise the belief in knowing only God’s Word can produce spiritual growth and change.
  • Allow the Lord to meet us everyday exactly where we are as we process the greatest love story of all times.

We will use 2023 as a time to focus upon 14 Biblical Eras through the Tyndale Chronological Study Bible (NLT). This is NOT a promotion nor are we receiving any proceeds. We are simply using this as a resource to guide our journey together.

You are invited to join us on the journey through this amazing chronological study Bible! Grab a copy and jump on board. It is a wonderful opportunity to do life together with a group of ladies across the United States! I know several have expressed a desire to read the Bible in chronological order, but wanted a group to stay accountable and encouraged. The time has come!

Personal message us OR send an email to refining.journey@gmail.com if interested. We will be happy to forward the details and online link.

LIFE: How did Judah fall so far away from God?

Photo by Atahan Demir on Pexels.com

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Have you ever asked yourself this question: How have I drifted so far away from God? I know I have and more than once.

In the book of Jeremiah, we see Judah with a terminal disease-sin. They refuse to turn to the Lord and do everything within their so called “Human-power” to heal themselves only finding it to spread and eventually destroy.

Jeremiah spent forty years trying to convince these people of the consequences of their actions. However, they let their pride get in the way. Killing children, abusing others, having many gods, engaging in false worship, being self-centered, and loving self-indulgence were just the beginning of the many items they placed as a priority over holding true to God’s principles. They refused to listen and seemed to categorize Jeremiah’s messages as nonsense.

How did God’s people end up in this place?

As we studied part two of Jeremiah, I began to ponder this question. What caused them to drift so far away? Why did they refuse to turn back? Could the end results have been different for them?  

Then I reflected on my own life. (OUCH! I think the Holy Spirit made me do it!)

Pride-yes that word-the source of my drifting much like the people of Judah. Let’s be honest here: pride, arrogance, haughtiness, fear of man, etc. can decrease our level of honor for God and His Word at times. Pride has a way of clouding our judgment. Therefore, we ignore the warnings, disregard the consequences/truth, and often pretend there isn’t a disconnect with us and the LORD.

In Jeremiah chapter 35, we are introduced to a group of nomads, the Rekabites. They were known as “principled people”-a stark contrast to those in Judah during this time. These tent dwellers were faithful and steadfast. They had an exceptional quality of obedience and remained true to their set principles and values. Regardless of the temptation, they kept their promises. Their word was backed with follow through. WOW! God could count of them-what a beautiful display of a high level of respect. The Rekabites were far from haughty nor filled with self-pride.

Going back to my own assessment- God loves me so much to allow me to be broken and struggling many times over. Why?-because of self-reliance, portions of pride, and “what’s in it for me” approach to life. Oh, how I could easily become like Judah, but my heart cries out for a different life. I want to be a principled person, living as a nomad in this world, with an outstanding level of discipline and obedience for my precious Lord and Savior.

What about you? What about the legacy you are leaving behind? Where do you find yourself in life? What stands in your way of being 100% committed and faithful to God?

The Lord is definitely refining me and sharpening my motives to live a life more reflective of the Rekabites. I know the lie of self-sufficient and believing God’s truth and help isn’t needed 24/7 is directly from the enemy-pure evil. I boldly ask Jesus to be my war club and break the bondage held by the enemy. I crave true rest and complete presence of the LORD in my life.

May we each strive to be heroes of faith as we walk through this LIFE by digesting God’s Word on a personal level. I pray Scripture stirs your heart and opens the door to closeness with the Father. What a humble privilege to be encouraged by the mighty principled people found in God’s Holy Word-even the simple nomads.

 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.

Hebrews 11:32-34 (NIV)

What’s New in 2023?

Join us on the journey through this amazing chronological study Bible! Grab a copy today and jump on board as we walk together through the 14 eras in 2023. What a wonderful opportunity to do life together with a group of ladies across the United States!

If you have always wanted to read the Bible in chronological order, this is a great way to stay accountable and be encouraged by like-minded individuals just like you.

Personal message us OR send an email to refining.journey@gmail.com if you are interested. We will send you the online link for Monday night gatherings.

(Just FYI-Mardel had the paperback copy for less than $15.00. Shop around-I got a hardback copy online for less than $18.00)

Shaken to become a Principled Person

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.’” Jeremiah 35:18-19 (NIV)

We are now in week three of our 2nd series of the Jeremiah study. As we began this week’s meeting, I prayed for God to use His Word to shake us to the core and bring a new light to the book of Jeremiah. I am not quite sure why these words came flowing out so quickly but…God…He answered!

Chapter 35 of Jeremiah is primarily about a group of people known as the Rekabites. This nomadic clan were faithful promise keepers who proved their allegiance over and over. When tempted or presented with a situation to fall back on their pledge, they were steadfast and unwavering. WOW!

We spent some time dissecting the major takeaways from this family. Let me share some of those with you:

  1. The Rekabites were tent dwellers and through this they displayed the understanding that this earth is not our destination in the end. We often get entangled by life and its “stuff”. It can bog us down and even overwhelm. Our material things are here today but gone tomorrow yet we can’t seem to do without, stop wanting more and more, and many times lack the ability to control it all. I am so guilty. I have WAY TOO MUCH and frequently forget that I am only passing through.
  2. This family had made an alliance to set rules and ways of living. They had determined what was best for them and they knew their why when it came to agreeing to these standards. They knew what they were pledging, the reason behind it, and how it was profitable for their living. When was the last time I thought about my values and absolutes?
  3. The Rekabites did not let culture, or the “modern” way of life sway their promises. While the world around them was falling apart and diving deeper and deeper into sin, this family stood firm against conforming to the “in thing to do”. They embraced their values and held tightly to this obedience regarding the established rules for their lives. I often make decisions based on “everyone else”. How am I different from the world in which I live?
  4. The Rekabites were steadfast. When they made their vows to abstain from things not productive for them, they knew how they would answer if temptation ever came. This family was prepared for situation where their faithfulness would be tested. They knew prior to any enticement what they would say and do. They were proactive in being successful when it came to their obedience. Am I steadfast or do I teeter and totter on average?

God honored the Rekabites for their obedience to their word. The Lord desires the same from each of us and craves to see us, His children, committed and unswerving. Our Father has proven His love and faithfulness to us over and over to the point of death. He is loyal, reliable, and constant. What a beautiful Father we have.

I challenge you to study this passage more and listen to a few sermons on the topic. Take some time this week and think about these “principled people”.

Then,

  1. Write down a couple of absolutes for your life. What is one value you have that you will not comprise no matter what?
  2. How is this profitable for God?
  3. What/Who might try to sway you from obedience?
  4. What will it take to be steadfast and faithful in the days ahead?

Once you have decided on a couple of absolutes, take some time to write them down and pray over them. Share them with a friend and ask them to pray for your devotion to be solid in the days ahead. Let God know the desire of your heart when it comes to these values and rules you have set for yourself.

May the witness of the Rekabites touch you in such a way that it also shakes you to the core and causes you to focus on what matters the most…

This is not your home…God’s ways are profitable…culture doesn’t dictate your values…and obedience is possible when you decide to be become a principled person.

Blessing and prayers for you in digesting Jeremiah 35. May you never be the same after reading it.  

For I Know the Plans

Photo by Maria Gulyaeva on Pexels.com Article from the thoughts of: Robin Gonzales

As we continue our study of Jeremiah, we come to chapter 29-that most famous verse which catches most people’s attention: Jeremiah 29:11 (AMPC) For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

It is a verse we have heard often and maybe even relied upon. But what was the context in which it was written? Think about what was actually happening when God makes this statement. The Israelites had been captured by the Babylonians and sent into exile for 70 years. Ouch! However, these Israelites escaped death under God’s wrath and were possibly still receptive to the Lord.

In their exile period they needed God assurances that He had not forgotten them, abandoned them, given up on them, and there was still hope for a better outcome than under the Babylonian’s reign.

Can you relate? Think about low periods of your life regardless of the reason. Life captured and imprisoned by circumstances and strife. You crave just a glimmer of better days ahead.

Isn’t it nice to be assured God provides great hope? Yes, His name is Jesus-the Savior who is the final outcome and our true intercessor. He gives us a brighter outlook despite the difficulties we may experience. 

But let me take you beyond this verse to the primary purpose of this article. You see, for me, this was not the verse seizing my attention. It was Jeremiah’s instructions in verse 7. Let’s take a look: 

Jeremiah 29:7 (AMPC)

And seek (inquire for, require, and request) the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it, for in the welfare of [the city in which you live] you will have welfare.

Jeremiah had just finished telling the Israelites they would be in exile for 7 decades so they needed to go forward, build houses, marry, and raise families. In other words, you are not going anywhere anytime soon–so settle in. He continues telling them to help their city to be at peace and prosperous so that they too would be peaceful and prosperous.

What did that mean for them? Live and work as if it was for the Lord. Submit to the authority God had place over them. In doing these things, all would be well. Yes, even humbling themselves under the Babylonian reign. Jeremiah might have even reminded the captives to display Godly behavior such as grace, mercy, forgiveness, understanding, etc. towards the Babylonians!  

Let’s take this a step farther. What does this mean for our daily living? Well, if we think about it-we have all been placed in a city by God himself. You are where you are for a reason. The same can be said about your country, place of employment, school, church, etc. The Father places us in specific areas and wants us to carry out our lives with the same principle He instructed the Israelites thousands of years ago.

We find these same sentiments in the New Testament as a reminder to live in peace, govern ourselves with humility, and work as if it were for the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (AMPC)

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:23 (AMPC)

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.

Romans 13:1 (AMPC)

Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction}, and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (AMPC)

First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior.

Let’s reflect:

How often do we pray for our elected leaders to have wisdom, good counsel, good health, strength, rest, peace, protection, help? I know I am lacking in this area. What about you?

I may remember the president or governor or law enforcement or first responders occasionally, but I don’t often think about state representatives, mayors, school board officials, etc. Our entire governing body needs prayer no matter our country, city, workplace, …

I urge you, including myself, as we approach this election in a few days to pray for the candidates, winning or losing, and take a different perspective toward those who are elected-weather or not we chose them. Also, continue to pray for all the leaders in our country all the way down to bosses, pastors, teachers, and parents.

Let’s remember each one of us is responsible for peace and prosperity where we have been placed. (Side note: most of us are responsible for someone else) So with Jeremiah 29:7 in mind, I think we all could use as much prayer and intercession we can get.

Only God can truly say, “For I Know the Plans!” But, it doesn’t let us off the hook to do our part.

JEREMIAH: Part 2-Bible Study online

Sign Up Today!

Our 2nd series of Jeremiah Bible study is now available! We start Monday, November 7th. We are so excited about the second half of this amazing online Bible study!

If you truly want to experience the power of God’s Word with a small group, this is the place! Each week is filled with wholesome learning in a safe environment surrounded by women desiring God’s lead.

This study is designed to be FLEXIBLE so you can tailor it to the time you have available each day.

  • WHAT: A seven-week Bible study Jeremiah (Chapters 29-52)
  • WHEN: November 7th-December 19th (Reading plan starts Nov. 2nd)
  • WHO: Anyone ready to dive deep into God’s Word through Bible study
  • WHERE: Online via zoom, Monday nights 6:00-7:00 p.m. (CST)
  • HOW TO JOIN: Contact us via email to get started. The study packet (pdf) is $10. We will send the Zoom link and study packet after receiving your completed registration. (NOTE: You are welcome to join without purchasing a study packet)

THROUGH THIS ONLINE CHAPER-BY-CHAPTER STUDY YOU WILL

  • Gain a better understand of the book of Jeremiah
  • Get a deeper look at God’s character and patience
  • Receive discernment and direction for your own spiritual life
  • Enjoy a committed community of women sharing like desires to walk with God and dive deeper into Scripture

If you are interested, email us at refiningjourney@gmail.com prior to November 7th.

We hope you can join us!

3 Reasons to Share Your Emotional Exploits with God

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Have you ever had a day where one minute you are praising the Lord and the next minute you find yourself frail and experiencing a moment of despair? Emotions-they can take us on adventures of extreme highs and lows within seconds. We can go from a mountain top to a pit of self-criticism. They can truly manipulate our thinking if we allow it.

Jeremiah knew about this all too well. In Jeremiah 20, he quickly goes from worshiping the Father as a mighty rescuer to blatantly showing major insecurity within himself. He even states, “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!” (Jeremiah 20:14 NIV).  Wow, definitely a stark contrast in thoughts and emotions.

Emotions can even be mixed. I have often found myself in sorrow and despair yet praising the Lord. In times of deep grief and major heartbreak, I have found crazy joy which makes absolutely no sense in human terms. There have been times when my heart and mind have been so peaceful when my world was absolutely falling apart.

Feelings are feelings! It is part of how God constructed each of us. He knows us better than we know ourselves, so our emotional displays and expressions do not catch Him off guard. Much like Jeremiah, God wants us to voice the despair and insecurity. He truly wants us to have 100% confidence in Him to be transparent and raw.  

Let me share 3 reasons I have found why to express all feelings (good, bad, or ugly) with God:

  1. It is a display of trust. Deuteronomy 7:9 states, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” When we share our crude feelings with God, it shows a level of faith and dependance. Regardless of how we feel, the Lord is more concerned with where we place our hope. Our transparency shows belief in God’s promise to not allow anything to separate us from His great love no matter the emotions and insecurity running through our veins.
  2. It demonstrates a relationship with the Lord. Deuteronomy 3:24 states, “O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand; for what god is there is heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Yours?” Think about where you run first with good or bad news. Are there emotions that come with the news? Sharing information with someone builds a relationship. We go to them because we know they care and the news is just as important to them as it is to us. When we go to God it builds a relationship. He delights in our vote of confidence. He cares deeply about our everyday news, feelings, success, failures, highlights, etc. Let Jeremiah be our example to share ALL that is within us to the one who is in charge of all things-GOD.
  3. It illustrates humility. Proverbs 11:2 states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” We are often too prideful to admit our emotions due to the conditioning of society. The book of Jeremiah expresses how pride destroyed Judah to the point of no return. They refused to listen to reproof or the sting of truth because they only wanted to experience “good feelings” regardless if they were attached to sinful acts. When we lay ALL emotions before the Lord, we display a heart under God’s authority. We demonstrate a belief in Him as steadfast and master of all our thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It is an opportunity to allow God to sort through them and guide us in dealing with them appropriately.

Remember my friend, God remains your all in all. Trust Him with everything-yes, even with those crazy emotional exploits that seem to come out of the blue. He is the one person who can handle the transparency and give you the discernment with each emotion-good, bad, or ugly. Let this be a pathway to build a relationship with Him. Make a point to chat with Him often and share honest moments.

Who else truly has your back, fights for you on all realms, and never grows tired of loving you?

Hungry for God’s Word?

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Happy October! What a beautiful change this week. Our highest temperature was in the 50s yesterday. I am sure the first freeze is upon us soon, but for now I have enjoyed the cooler weather.

It seems this time of the year makes me really think about food. Pumpkin pie, zucchini bread, homemade soup, quiche, flavored coffee, etc. All things warm and cozy. Comfort! I can feel the fall hunger within me. The question is what will really satisfy my seasonal craving?

As we continue our fall study in Jeremiah, the subject of hunger appeared this past week. Jeremiah introduces a hungry soul and what can satisfy it. In Jeremiah 15:16 he states, “Your words are what sustain me; they are food to my hungry soul. They bring joy to my sorrowing heart and delight me. How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord.” (Living Bible)  

Jesus encouraged followers to feast on God’s Word. (John 8:31-32) He clearly wants us to not only build a relationship with the Trinity but with Scripture as well. Why? Because there is power in the word and He clearly illustrated this with His encounter with the enemy.

I think I can safely say we know an essential element in our spiritual walk is interacting with the Bible. Over and over, we are reminded of the substance it delivers. It gives us insight to the character of God, His desire for our daily living, and a multitude of sweet promises for His children. In chapter 20 of Jeremiah, we find Scripture can even ignite a fire within us to boldly witness without worry of persecution.

Do you crave God’s Word? Is it something you cannot live without? Do the words comfort and satisfying come to mind when thinking about your relationship with Scripture? Does it seems like a lot to take in much like the image above? Is it hard to “take a bite” on your own?

Much like discipleship training, we all need biblical literacy guidance. Often our Bibles are underutilized because we are unsure how to independently interact with God’s Word. I know this was very true for me.

Rick Warren once said, “…hungry Christians need to be taught how to feed themselves from the Word of God.” It takes time and training to grow in proficiency when building a relationship with Scripture. There are tons of strategies and methods, but regardless they are useless if they don’t resonate with you.

The main factor is consistency and commitment. Then read with purpose. Start with three areas of focus:

  1. Who is God?
  2. What does He want me to do or stop doing?
  3. What promises does God make?

These three areas alone can furnish us with a firm foundation to interacting with Scripture. This approach is an open invitation to carry out James 1:22-becoming a doer of the Word and stepping out in faith more and more as you get to know God deeper, discover His commands and cling to His promises.

Challenge yourself to read with intentionality. Spend time digesting books of the Bible by taking it one chapter at a time. I read this week that it is beneficial to read a chapter a week and read it at least five times during the timeframe. WOW! Also, it was suggested to set aside an hour twice a week for deep study. What great advice especially when we take God’s Word bite-by-bite, verse-by-verse.

So, what will you do differently this week as you grow in Scripture proficiency and biblical literacy? What can you add to your daily or weekly routine? How can you incorporate the three areas: Who is God? What are His instructions/reproof? Are there promises made in the passage?

We would love to hear from you. If you are seeking for an online group to assist you in Bible study skills, let us know. We meet online every Monday night via Zoom for one hour starting at 6:00 p.m. (CST). We will be happy to share the group link with you! We would love to have you join us as we learn how to grow in relationship with the Word of God together.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑