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How Visual Bible Intake Changed My Life

Wow! What an amazing fall day we are experiencing here. Crisp air, warm sun, slight breeze, and brilliant colors. It is days like these I want to capture and relive over and over because of the peace it seems to stir within my soul. The calmness of the weather washes over me in such a way that it fills me with tranquility despite any of life’s storms fulminating around me or within. Funny how quickly days like these can be wiped away when the 50 mph winds begin to blow and the temperatures drop into the single digits. This glorious day becomes an extreme distant memory I can barely revive.

When I encounter days like today, it brings me back to a time in my life where I desperately needed to encounter God and His Word differently. I longed to find true peace, joy, harmony, and calmness. I wanted it so infused into my veins that it would never leave my thoughts. There was a deep desire to seize the goodness of the LORD in such a way that I could seriously retain what the Father revealed to me through His Word.  

That was three years ago! In 2018, God opened the doors to many things and the Holy Spirit revealed a way for me to go beyond my stagnant spiritual intake. It took me getting really honest with the LORD and confessing my issues. (I had a lot & still do, my friend) Permit me to share one of the biggest issues.

Have you ever attended a Bible study, sermon series, or studied a book of the Bible and in the midst of it been blessed beyond measure? I know I have over and over. That feeling is like experiencing the most impeccable day. You feel empowered and encouraged. It always fired me up for the next book, sermon, bible study, etc.

However, for me, months down the road I could only say, “Yes, that was a good study.” I could not truly verbalize my take away or seem to pinpoint the personal message for me. The only recollect was “it was good while it lasted”-much like a triple chocolate ice cream cone with a dark chocolate shell on a hot summer’s day. I felt like I was just going through the motions and then forgetting the goodness of God and His promises.

Now let me be very transparent, this journey hasn’t been easy but God answered my request. He has gently and ever so patiently been revealing ways for me to visualize my relationship with Him. The LORD has shown me methods to remember beyond the sermon, book study, etc. and how to hold myself accountable. He has given me a beautiful gift beyond my wildest imagination. I am slowly learning to infuse more of Him into my daily living while leaving a visual legacy of my relationship with the LORD for generations to come.

The Refining Ministry will be sharing these simple, creative techniques through workshops and retreats in 2022. We are super excited about the new year and what God has in store. Let us show you how your individual Bible intake can be memorable through fresh and creative means.  Be on the lookout for details coming your way in January.  

ZEPHANIAH: 3 week study

Happy July friends!

It is that time again–to gear back up and continue the online Bible study series, Major Wisdom through the Minor Prophets. This month’s study will only be three weeks and focus on one chapter a week.

Together we will embrace Bible intake and discuss our reflections from personal readings via Zoom. Weekly, we will uncover the original meaning from the author and uncover the takeaways for each of us individually. Digging into Scripture with like-minded sisters in Christ is a powerful experience.

Come join us for three weeks-one hour a week. Zephaniah will begin July 12th at 6:00 p.m.

July 12th Chapter 1

July 19th Chapter 2

July 26th Chapter 3

Please email the Refining Ministry, refining.journey@gmail.com by July 11th if you would like to participate. 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

Crown the Sword: Ch. 9 Meaning

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Hello and Happy Spring! I hope you are seeing signs of warmer weather and a few daffodils sprinkled throughout your day. My full extent of Spring is defined by newness and Easter (my favorite holiday). I love seeing the violas and tulips displayed around town. It is exciting to watch the buds begin to form on the rosebushes and trees in the yard. These signs bring the meaning of hope to mind for me and help me better understand the purpose of winter.

REVIEW: ATTENTION STAGE

Today we are discussing the “M” stage of AMPS: Meaning. However, I feel I need to revisit and clarify the first step, Attention, before moving forward. The Attention stage is the breadth of Bible Intake, a time to simply read and/or listen to God’s Word by engaging in at least one chapter at a time. It is crafted to give you an overview and allow the Holy Spirit to point out areas.

This is a stage where you are reading the Bible with the knowledge that all Scripture points to Christ. Think of this type of Bible intake as basic reading and/or listening for the broadness and entirety of God’s Word. The basic points are 1) Pause, pray, and posture your heart to hear God every time you approach His Word; 2) Read and/or listen to full chapters at a time (safeguards from cherry picking); 3) Think about how the chapter/s point to the full story of Christ; 4) Allow the Holy Spirit to highlight words, phrases, verse/s for you (be in tune to hear the active-living Word).

Please, if you have any questions or concerns about the Attention steps of AMPS, ask me. Remember, this is a skeleton framework for you to build your own Bible study methods and techniques. There is nothing more or nothing less to the Attention stage than the four basic points listed above. Now, the way you respond to those or what you do with your Attention experience can vary.

MEANING STAGE

Let’s move into the Meaning stage. In this aspect of Bible intake, this stage can be referred to as the depth step. Why? Because it is where you have to consume God’s Word through discovering its original implication and importance in history. It equips us to intensify our Scripture knowledge and invest in the Lord’s meaning.

Where do I begin? How do I start? What does this entail? I know, I have had those very same questions. So, let me try to share what I have discovered through three basic areas.

3 MEANING FAQs

Where to begin: I would encourage you to study one chapter at a time. Maybe read/listen to a chapter for your attention stage and then study it in depth for several days. AMPS is not designed to be carried out daily. (I would love to do go through the entire process every day!) Want a suggestion? Start with John.

Another suggestion would be to study the background of the entire book you are reading. The main take away is for you to go deeper into understanding and comprehension of what you are reading.

When I first began, my primary purpose was to achieve and establish true clarity for the Scripture that seized my attention when reading a chapter at a time, listening to a sermon, reading a devotional, etc. It was my starting point and it gave me “spot knowledge” so to speak. Since then, I would have to say I have found it essential to continually concern myself with the meaning of all biblical text to obtain the distinctness and focus of God’s words. With that being said, please understand studying the “attention” areas or highlighted portions after reading/listening is a great beginning.

Start where you are!

How to start: Study Bibles are extremely helpful when digesting Scripture. It gives some insight to true understanding and even the context in which it was written. Pay attention to the subheadings. They are tools to help our minds “chunk” the information and attach it to similar knowledge in our schema. There are many Bible commentaries online you can reference as well. Let Scripture define Scripture–so, you may want to invest time into reading some of the cross reference verses provided. My favorite technique is to read my “attention” verses in various translations.

Getting started is basically taking a step to deeper understanding! Please don’t make it complicated. It can merely be one thing that deepens your understanding. This is an ongoing adventure to strength your relationship with the most important person in your life, GOD! Try several strategies and research more to incorporate throughout your journey.

Start where you are!

What meaning entails: I might define meaning as anything that helps you dig into the context and build a firm foundation of knowledge according to God’s connotation. The primary goal is for you to open your Bible in confidence by knowing God will provide you with complete comprehension if you are willing to do a little extra work.

Here are a few things you could include:

Write down your questions.

Reread God’s Word in several versions (NIV, ESV, NLT, TPT, …)

Use commentaries, reference other Scripture, and read resources such as Bible book summaries

Cultivate an interrogative mindset (author, author’s background, historical setting & culture, original recipients of the message, events)

5Ws & H: (historical references)

            Who wrote it? Who are the people?

            When was it written?

            Where are they? Where does the passage fit in the unfolding of Scripture?

            What is occurring? What is being said? What is the author’s intended meaning?

            Why was this written? Why is this part of God’s Word?

            How was this applicable then? And now?

Identify keywords: Maybe use a Bible dictionary (language concordance) & find the Greek/Hebrew meaning

Deal with reproof & new revelations: Did you discover a flaw in your past comprehension/application?

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WOW! I know…it may be overwhelming but remember… Start where you are!

PRIMARY GOAL: Discovering the Full Meaning of God’s Word by growing in relationship with the LORD.

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ONE PRIMARY TIP: Let it be pure joy!

YOU GOT THIS!

Steps to Bible Intake: Part II of Crown the Sword

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And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Ephesians 6:10-12 (Message)

Hello sweet friends! I hope your week has been good. We have had tornadoes, hail, rain, blizzard, snow, sunshine, and spring days all in one week. You never know what to wear or how to prepare. It has felt a little chaotic to say the least.

How’s your daily Bible intake? Does it ever seem a little sporadic? I know mine does. There are times it is so unorganized and unplanned that it might resemble the worst junk drawer on the face of the earth. It definitely gets out-of-whack when I have too many pans in the fire. (Not that I am currently doing this or anything like it!!!)

I just wanted to pause today and share a method I created for my personal Bible intake. This corelates with Part II of the book Crown the Sword if you want to know more details. During my searching for more of God’s Word in my life, I found bits and pieces of various Bible study methods I liked, but never one that encompassed everything I needed and valued. So, over the years God revealed AMPS to me.

AMPS is a very basic skeleton for anyone to build upon. Ideally, I would love to go through the entire process daily. However, time doesn’t always allow. However, it is important to engage in every stage and not just get bogged down into one step in the process.

Just give it a try. Make it your own. Find a new way to engage with God and His Word. Start with pausing and prayer each time you begin. Please find joy in your daily Bible Intake. Don’t make it a “TO DO”, make it a celebration of drawing nearer to the one and only who loves you beyond comparison, GOD! Make it a “Ta Da” and find pleasure in each moment you spend engaging and infusing Scripture into your life.

Download your copy of AMPS in a different format than presented previously. ENJOY.

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