When the Bible is Hard to Understand- How to Power Through

When the Bible is Hard to Understand- How to Power Through

The microwave has ruined us. 

Seriously.

I’m showing a little of my age right now, but stay with me.

When my mom was growing up, they didn’t have electricity. My grandmother, with seven children, washed the laundry over a wash basin. And, she cooked. From scratch.

By the time I was a kid, from scratch cooking wasn’t really a ‘thing.’ The microwave cooked waaaaaaaay faster and was waaaaaaay easier. 

That line of thinking, faster and easier, permeated the thought process of society. And it has done nothing but gotten worse.

If a website doesn’t load in less than two seconds, it’s considered slow.

Raise your hand if you’ve clicked on a link, and when it didn’t open instantly, you clicked away and were off to the next one.

Raising my hand.

We’re all guilty. 

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Quit Saying You Don't Have Time to Read the Bible

Quit Saying You Don't Have Time to Read the Bible

Can we be real for a moment?

Like, for real, real?

You know as well as I do we make time for the things we want to make time for. End of story.

When we’re not reading the Bible and spending time with God, it’s a symptom of a larger problem.

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How Can you Trust God If You Don’t Really Know Him?

How Can you Trust God If You Don’t Really Know Him?

A friend of mine and I went out to eat at a quirky, local, hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The tables bore the marks of years of use, and the booths were cramped and had holes in the vinyl. Basically, it's our favorite place to eat.

During dinner, my friend and I did what this friend and I always do, laugh way too loud and delve into all things Jesus. Not the surface-level, platitudes, but the deep. The messy. The ugly.

We talked about trusting God not just with the small things, but with the big things.

Our talk led me back to the night of the car wreck when I was standing on the side of the road, and Office Pirtle told me there were no survivors. 

That was the moment my husband, five and a half-year-old daughter and 19-day old son died.

It took me back to the instant where life as I knew it was never the same. 

It was the marker in my life of Before and After.

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Online Bible Study Tools That Will Help You Understand the Bible Like Never Before

Online Bible Study Tools That Will Help You Understand the Bible Like Never Before

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, if you wanted to study the Bible, you had to have a library full of commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and a good old Nave’s Topical study Bible.

When I began a serious study of the Bible, I spent the hundreds of dollars to order the necessary resources. 

When the books arrived, I was excited to dive into them. While they are amazing, they’re bulky and require a concerted effort to use.

Since that time, a plethora of Bible resources are now available online and for free. 

Despite having shelves full of resources, I find myself using these resources the majority of the time. 

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Context 101- Your Comprehensive Guide to Better Understanding Scripture

Context 101- Your Comprehensive Guide to Better Understanding Scripture

If you’ve been around our blog before, you probably already know I have a passion for reading the Bible. There’s nothing more transformative than being in God’s Word. 

That certainly wasn’t always the case. 

For the longest time, I would read and not understand a single thing I had just read. To say I was frustrated was an understatement. 

Maybe that’s where you are today. 

You want to read the Bible and grow in your faith, but you’re overwhelmed with life, and the last thing you want to do is add another thing to your to-do list. Especially something that leaves you feeling dumb.

The Bible is simple, but it isn’t easy. 

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The Power of the Tongue- a new perspective

The Power of the Tongue- a new perspective

Ever scroll through Facebook and just get tired? Tired of the negativity? Tired of the fighting?

Ever think, why in the world are they posting that?!

Yeah, me too.

So much so I took my question to the Lord. Not to search for the “why” people post what they post, but more so how to make sure I don’t.

My seeking led to Proverbs.

Do words in verses ever jump out at you? 

Like when you're reading a passage of Scripture or a book of the Bible, and a similar idea keeps coming up over and over and over again?

Throughout Proverbs, while there are NUMEROUS themes and ideas, God spoke to me about the tongue. (And maybe added a little reproof and correction in for good measure.)

The Bible gives us a wealth of wisdom regarding our tongue.

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He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone- But What Does That Really Mean?

He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone- But What Does That Really Mean?

Christians and non-Christians alike frequently refer to this passage. Dare I say it is one of the most commonly misused and misapplied verses today?

Let's take a look at John 8:1-11

What is this passage really teaching us? What truth are we to learn?

"but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

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Worship- What does it look like in real life?

Worship- What does it look like in real life?

I've been reading A.W. Tozer's Pursuit of God, and so far it's been incredible. In my research of Tozer, I've learned that he spent the majority of his day worshipping God. He spent copious amounts of time in solitude so that he could hear the voice of God. His life was one of worship.

It got me thinking... what does worship look like in real life?

Psalm 100

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

1. Worship is all about God

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7

Worship is so much more than singing songs on Sunday morning. It's a spirit of focusing on the goodness of God each and every day and responding to His call.

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Prayers You Should be Praying in 2018- Part 2: Growing in Christ

Prayers You Should be Praying in 2018- Part 2: Growing in Christ

Now let’s suppose you’ve been walking with the Lord for quite a while, and it’s time to GROW in Christ. 

You’re ready to go to the next level, ready to go deeper, to enrich your relationship with the Lord.

GROWING in Christ means positioning yourself for God to use you. Making yourself available. Allowing yourself to be a vessel for kingdom work. And, again, the best way to do this is through prayer.

Here are 8 biblical principles a soldier of Christ prays for: 

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Prayers You Should Be Praying in 2018- Part 1: Knowing Christ

Prayers You Should Be Praying in 2018- Part 1: Knowing Christ

Let’s suppose you’re new to the Christian walk, and you’ve decided that 2018 is your year to KNOW Christ.

What’s that going to look like? Let me help.
 
KNOWING Christ means positioning yourself to hear Him and to see Him. The best way to do this is through prayer.   

So what will you pray for? Again, let me help. 

Giving your life to Christ indicates your desire to be made new. The condition of your heart likely needs refining, and your mind needs training. 

Here are 7 Biblical truths every Christian needs to be praying about: 

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A Brand New Bible Study Method + a Free Printable

A Brand New Bible Study Method + a Free Printable

Have you attempted Bible study before, and thought, “where in the world do I start??”

Do you find your mind wandering as you read through the verses? 

Do you secretly wonder if you're reading your Bible to check it off your list?

Does the thought of reading the Bible without a book to guide you make you a little nervous?

You’re not alone!

What if I introduced you to a method of study that helped you stay focused, fit in your schedule, and showed you how to dig into the Scriptures?

Would you give it a shot?

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Forgiveness- especially when it's hard

Forgiveness- especially when it's hard

Forgive?!? But what he/she did was REALLY bad…

Is forgiveness hard for you?

If you answered no, high five to you.

If you answered yes, I'm right there with you.

I would love to sit here and tell you that it's easy to forgive those that have hurt you... but let's keep it real... it's HARD! As in the brutal variety of hard. Especially when the person doesn't "deserve" forgiveness.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Lord has done some strong convicting on my lack of forgiveness. And then, low and behold, in the midst of my reading of Mark, the Lord once again brought forgiveness to the forefront of my unforgiving heart.

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What to Pray When You Don't Know What to Say

What to Pray When You Don't Know What to Say

I've spent a lot of time over the past several years studying prayer.

For anyone who really knows me, you know I’m sort of a ‘city’ girl. I love high heels, convertibles, and copious amounts of mascara. You know, girly stuff.

As a child, my best friend Cindy’s family lived in the ‘country’ and had livestock. I could barely stomach walking down to the pasture while Cindy had to feed the cows. It was dirty, usually a little muddy, and kind of stinky.

Fast forward 30 years and my father now has cattle. But here’s the deal, I love them. I found myself volunteering to go with him when he fed them. I even bottle fed one of his calves in which the mother had abandoned.

Now did the cows change? NO! They are dirty, the pasture usually muddy, and they too, are stinky.

So what changed?

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How to Start Reading and Understanding the Bible

How to Start Reading and Understanding the Bible

The Bible.

It's a big book.

Big in its literal as well as figurative sense.

Have you ever sat down to read it only to realize you have NO. IDEA. where to start?

You're certainly not alone.

Several years ago, coming from many years as a wayward saint, I felt compelled to start reading the Bible again. I wasn't excited about it. I just knew I needed to read it. 

I wasn't excited about reading it because I had tried many, many, maaannnny times in the past. To be honest, I didn't understand much of it at all. 

I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of feeling stupid. And quite frankly, when I read the Bible and didn't understand it, I felt stupid.

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Meeting Jesus Christ: A Story of Salvation

Meeting Jesus Christ: A Story of Salvation

It was an ordinary Wednesday during the school year of 2007.

My friend and next-door teaching neighbor was absent, so there was a substitute teacher in the room. Her name was Linda Martin.

I had known Mrs. Linda for a while and thought her to be the nicest lady. As we stood by our doors greeting students, she asked if I’d like to go to church that night.

Without even processing the invitation, I said yes.

That evening I stopped at Books-A-Million to get a notebook for church. Being a neurotic note-taker, I figured I’d better be prepared. Prepared for what I did not know.

I arrived at the building and found a seat in the middle toward the front so that I could see the altar and the preacher, whoever he might be. Being studious, I knew I’d get more out of this sitting near the front.

Service began with worship—the small band playing, arms raised in praise, hands clapping. This was familiar to me since I had attended two services here before with a friend. After a few songs, the pastor took the stage, led us in prayer, and began with his message.

I hung on every word this man spoke. He spoke with passion, conviction, and authority. I was hooked. I wanted more.

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My Top 10 Favorite Christian Books

My Top 10 Favorite Christian Books

As an avid reader, I'm always looking for a great read. Recently a new member of the Tribe, Barbara, asked if I had any book suggestions. I thought it was a great time to put together a list of my favorite books.

If you're looking to grow in your relationship with the Lord, what you read, watch, and listen to are vehemently important. Here is a list of books to feed your mind and more importantly, your soul.

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How to Find God When You Can't See Him

How to Find God When You Can't See Him

 

Have you ever needed to hear God speak?

As in your soul was crying out for Him.

Several years ago my mother and I were blessed to go to Alaska for one of my speaking events. It was in October, and we would be there for the wreck anniversary day.

I normally don't do speaking events on or close to that date, but.... it was Alaska. And my mom. 

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SPIRITUAL VISION: Too old? Too late?

SPIRITUAL VISION:  Too old?  Too late?
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp
    Or what’s a heaven for? (1)

Ah, Oswald, how you prick my heart! Anyone who knows me knows that Oswald Chambers is on my list of top 10 heroes – it (the list) changes periodically as I study and read and get to know people – most of whom are dead since most are from the Bible – save and except Francine Rivers (that’s for another time!) Oswald Chamber’s  “My Utmost for His Highest” has been on my daily reading list for 20+ years.  And it was, once again, his words that encouraged me to search the scriptures.

I digress (must be dreaming dreams instead of having visions).  Because - VISIONS – that’s what’s been on my heart.  As  I read Oswald, I recognized myself as often being one with “idealistic principles.” 

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5 Better Ways to Memorize Scripture

5 Better Ways to Memorize Scripture

Billy Graham once said, "The Bible is the only thing that combats the devil. Quote the scripture, and the devil will run."

I don't know about you, but I want the devil to flee. Maybe you're like me and have great intentions to memorize scripture. You pick out the verse and read it over and over, but it just doesn't stick. I thought there HAS to be a better way to get scripture to stick in my brain so that it will ultimately change my heart. Because isn't that the whole point?

Here are 5 better ways to memorize scriptures:

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