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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.  

God-I Have Questions

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Hello! Yes, it has been longer than normal since the last posting. I pray you and your family are doing well and embracing the new summer season. In the words of our sweet little Jude, “It is hot, hot!” So, enjoy, kickback, and take joy in the pool, sprinkler, air conditioner, etc. This too shall pass.

Refining ministries has begun a season of study entitled, “Major Wisdom through Minor Prophets”. This month we are diving deep into Habakkuk. I refer to him as the “why bird”. He was a bold prophet-brave enough to address God with his questions and honest concerns. Although I am not sure he liked the response he received, Habakkuk felt confident enough to layout his true thoughts before God.

While reflecting on our group discussions, I had to question myself about my faith when it comes to asking the Lord hard questions. Oh, I often ask for things-healing, comfort, renewal, restoration, self-discipline, etc. for others as well as myself. Yet, I don’t regularly ask why God is doing what He is. So, I had to ask myself “Why not?” What can I learn from Habakkuk to strengthen my relationship with the Lord?

Let me share my revelations:

1. Habakkuk was very secure in his relationship with God. He brought his concerns directly to the one who is in charge. (Habakkuk 1:2) He didn’t hop on Facebook and ask his social network. Habakkuk wasn’t one to run to the nearest neighbor and complain about God’s delay based on his timetable. This prophet went straight to the best source-the Almighty Father-the maker of heaven and earth.

Lesson one: Go to God first!

2. Habakkuk was raw and open about his deepest thoughts. (Habakkuk 1:2-4) He didn’t beat around the bush or try to sweet talk his way around asking. Straight to the point was his approach. Let’s get down to business and spill out what is troubling the heart.

Lesson two: Don’t waste God’s time-get to the point & share your deepest concerns.

3. Habakkuk wasn’t shy about expressing the fact he could not understand God’s ways. He immediately began asking why. What is taking you so long to end this awful behavior and destruction? He asked GOD boldly-the God of the universe. Wow-the thought of doing this is not as comfortable for me as it seems to be for Habakkuk. But why not? God has our back and loves us so much. God is big enough to handle our questions no matter what they may contain.

Lesson three: If you don’t understand God’s ways, ask why? He is willing to listen.

4. The Lord answered Habakkuk with a reply which was shocking to him. (Habakkuk 1:12-17) God will respond, but we may not like the answer. God knows the future and is working out all things according to His plans. His ways are not ours nor do they often align with our human understanding. However, we must be willing to embrace the Lord’s perspective.   

Lesson four: Be willing to see the situation through the eyes of God.

All this in just Chapter 1! Major wisdom through a minor prophet’s boldness to go to God first, get straight to the point, ask God why when not understanding, and be willing to see the situation through the eyes of the Lord. What knowledge to take to heart when having questions about issues in life. I have many!!!

What about you?

How do these four points assist you in dealing with difficulties you incur?

Times when you just want to know WHY?

Let God be your Rock just like Habakkuk.

Blessings my friends!

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.

His Perspective

For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. Romans 15:4

We study the Bible because within it are the very words of God. God “breathed out” the Scriptures and inspired men to write His truth. It is an expansion of Himself to all mankind. As Christians, we rely on these words to complete us and equip us for every good work to bring the Father honor and glory. Can you imagine life without them?

The Father employs scripture and prayer to communicate. God is known as an intimate and relational spirit. When we speak with Him and ask for clarification of truth, God reveals wisdom and understanding. Remember, Holy Scriptures are fashioned to feed our souls with everlasting nourishment and refresh our mind. In Matthew 4:4 Christ reminds us, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”     

Not only do we have God’s Holy Word and a direct line to the Father through prayer, but we possess the Holy Spirit. He lives within us as a helpmate. As we read in 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 21 discloses the fact that interpretation of scripture is never attained through human means but from part of the divine Trinity’s promptings. (aka Holy Spirit)   Just like Jesus informed the disciples in John 14:26, the Holy Spirit is a gift to us to guide and instruct. We cannot uncover truth in scripture through the use of our human flesh and thinking. Why?  God’s ways far outweigh our own and we would be fooling ourselves to believe otherwise. “For is anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:3.    

God’s word makes known His directives and assurances. They are a road map for righteous living. His perspective and outlook, along with faith-filled reliance on the Holy Spirit, empowers us to grasp His truth and live out God’s will. The bible is our source of truth, yet spiritual development and perception requires trust and dependence on the Holy Spirit AND continual interaction with the Father through prayer. Our reliance on these mutually supporting actions generates clarity and precise scripture meaning. Once clearness is obtained, we can commence to launch God’s truth into our present-day circumstances and daily living. Without God’s viewpoint and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we are left on our own accord to determine meaning based on our evaluation. How clear of a picture do we get using this method?

Given our current crisis, I would extend the message from Sunday’s service by encouraging you to draw out God’s perspective for Psalm 91. Read it. Meditate upon it. Through prayer and the Holy Spirit’s promptings, allow God to reveal His words for you as a means to cope during a time such as this.

LOVE AND PRAYERS for our world!

Diagram Scripture

One of My Own Diagrams

How many of you loved diagramming sentences in school? I wasn’t an enormous fan but I did not mind doing it when necessary. It did give me a better insight to sentence structure.

Recently, I came across a picture of a very small verse diagrammed. It was broken into parts and each area was addressed by writing meaning, thoughts, and reflections on each section.

I have been putting this method into practice and shared it with the ladies attending Refining. I encourage you to give it a whirl. Reflect, ponder, study, pray, and diagram a sentence for a week. Come away with a deeper meaning and understanding while drawing closer to knowing God.

If you haven’t tried AMPS (posted previously) as a scripture study method, give it a try as well. Share your experience and thoughts. Lets encourage one another to grow in Christ and remain in His Word.

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