Bible Study Tips ~ Day One ~ Habits

This is the first post in a series of tips and encouragements that have been a blessing to me in studying my Bible and having a daily Quiet Time (Devotions).

Read Your Bible

When your Quiet Time takes place is up to you. Consider your family’s daily routine and schedule. It will also vary depending on what season of life you are in. For sure, whenever I was the mother of babies, awake throughout the night, my Quiet Time was not the same as it is now. In a world full of people to love, work to do and distractions to avoid, time to be quiet with the Lord is challenging. But it is possible. Try this! For one week observe your routine and ask the Lord to show you portions of your day when you could have special time with Him. It might be one large period of time or smaller periods throughout the day.

Here is an example that might help you get started. Start the first 15 minutes or half hour of your day, depending upon how early you get up, by praying and reading a passage; take a few minutes at lunch to review your morning verses (maybe have them written on an index card or on your cell phone); then before you go to sleep thank Him for the day He has made and review your verses again.

Pray

We need focused, concentrated time to be still and take all our praises and personal cares to the Lord each day. Some like to keep a journal of their prayers or a notebook where they keep a prayer list. You could keep your church prayer bulletin handy each day for prayer times or use a basket or box of notecards with needs and names on them. One year I was wondering what to do with all the photo Christmas cards we receive every season. So I decided to fill up a pretty tin with pictures of our family, friends, and missionary prayer cards so we can pull out several each night to pray for. We keep it on the coffee table. For those we don’t have a picture of I wrote their names on a 3×5 card and put it in the box. Don’t forget your Pastors and their families, your church family, your child’s (or grandchildren’s) school and all the people who influence them each day, your civic leaders, those in authority and civil servants, our military and their families, missionaries and ministries all over the world.

We should also remember that our prayer closet can be anywhere. Make it a habit to speak to Him as your head hits the pillow each night and again before your feet hit the floor the next morning. Talk with Him in the shower, making the bed, sorting, switching and folding the laundry, at the kitchen sink or while stirring at the stove, driving the car, in the grocery store, anywhere and everywhere. When we had babies in the house, I remember talking with Him while making bottles, rocking, feeding and diapering, etc, especially in the middle of the quiet nights. Those actually were some of the most precious, close times with Him! It’s wonderful that He is always awake!

Memorize Scripture

Another thing that has has had a huge impact on my life is memorizing Scripture. I found that the actual process of learning the Passage or verse is the part that has the biggest impact, because that is when I am meditating on it the most. When I read that verse or passage over and over again, rehearse it again and again in my mind, prepare a Memory Trigger Sheet (for memorizing whole chapters), speak it out loud, write it out on index cards, tape it on the mirror, the kitchen window, on the passageways throughout the house, on the dashboard of our car Scott10 van, (stoplights are great opportunities to rehearse verses) and then reach those little Woo-Hoo break-throughs when I finally get a phrase down and I can finally begin tying it all together, through this entire process the Word of God is changing me and lifting me up out of my temporal concerns. Memorizing Bible verses and passages keeps your mind filled with good things! (Philippins 4:8)

An amazing thing takes place when we are meditating on The Word of God, the earthly and the Eternal begin to intertwine, and seem to blend together. Even the menial earthly tasks transform into worship, or even an altar. When we hide God’s Word in our hearts It is there for us even when we think we’ve forgotten It. It is tucked away and often God will bring it to our minds in the future at just the perfect time!

In closing today, I urge you to determine to make some time to be with the Lord a huge priority in your daily life. It is a habit to be formed, a discipline, for sure. Yet, I promise, you can trust that God will bless the time you give to be with Him. Please don’t let yourself get discouraged when you miss a day, a week, or even a month. Discouragement is like a sinking ship. Before you know it you’ll hit rock bottom. So just look to the Lord and get back at it right away! Don’t count on your feelings. They will almost always lead you down the wrong path. Just do right and trust God for the rest.

More Bible study and Quiet Time tips yet to come. If you do not want miss any of these posts, you can sign up on the sidebar at “follow blog via email”.

Walking with Jesus,

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Related Articles:
Bible Study Tips ~ Day 2 ~ Bible Study Notebook
Bible Study Tips ~ Day 3 ~ My Bible, My Notebook
Bible Study Tips ~ Day 4 ~ Pray
Bible Study Tips ~ Day 5 ~ S.O.A.P. & Psalms

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Philippians 4:8 It!

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I love Philippians 4:8’s eight things to think about! What a plain, clear list that is simple to comprehend and apply! Not only do we have to be careful what we think about, but we have to realize that this list specifies what we are to feed our minds!

When I was a girl, my sweet Grandma Lindsey always told me, “Garbage in, garbage out.”! Soooo…let’s be careful to only give our time to, set our minds on, watch, have conversations, and read things that are

excellent,
admirable,
true,
holy,
right/just,
pure,
lovely,
praiseworthy!

Don’t be silly and say, well, “it is true”. It may be true, but if it’s not also pure or right, etc.┬áthen we are not to dwell on it, or fixate our minds on it. Some things just aren’t worth spending our thoughts on, according to the Scriptures.

I need to make sure that I filter all things through Philippians 4:8. How about movies and tv shows? Would what you watch pass muster? Would what you read or look at or engage in online hold up against the Philippians 4:8 Thought List? Would your online, text, or face to face conversations be considered holy, right, lovely, and praiseworthy?

Perhaps your vocation requires you to consume news or information that is not praiseworthy or it is even evil. Ask the Lord to guard your mind and bless you with wisdom, discernment and peace. Then all other times, fill your mind with things that are excellent, admirable, true, holy, lovely, just, pure, and things that are worthy of our praise!

Have an excellent week, my friends!

Growing in grace,
Melissa

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What If?

Lord, what if I stalled, paused before every single action or word and waited on You? I would never speak ahead of You. I would let You speak and I’d open my mouth only if You were opening it. I would let You go first. I would look to You then follow where You lead. I would do next whatever You say to do. I would get Your blessing, Your nod, Your approval before moving ahead with the next deed, the next word, the next thought. If only I would handle every moment of every day with that much consideration, that much self-control, that much faith, that much humble reliance.

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But the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ’s
have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts.
If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit.
~Galatians 5:22-25

Growing in grace, I pray…
~Melissa
Micah 6:8
11 Cor 9:6-8

Once ~ Christ Bore the Sins of Many

Aren’t you over~joyed that Christ freely sacrificed His own precious blood to bear the sins of many?! And because His sacrificial offering was a once in a lifetime occurence that lasts through all eternity our sins are fully atoned.

Nothing else is needed to cleanse sin. Nothing else could ever do what His spotless, blemishless blood has already done. No other work can finish what Christ has already finished Himself. We can trust fully in the complete work of Jesus Christ to cleanse us from all sin for all time. Jesus’ blood was and is and forever will be enough. Christ the Saviour’s one time sacrifice was and is complete, so complete that His shed Blood has enough power to cleanse all sin for all time.

Scipture says Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. His one sacrifice of Himself was sufficient to put away sin. By His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (from Hebrews 9)

Once we receive His free gift of salvation He will not need to offer His own blood again. Even though we have trusted in His blood to cleanse us we will sin in this life, in this body of flesh. God has provided for this. He knew it would happen so He made a plan. (I John 1:7-2:2) The blood of Christ would still forever be enough to wash away all sin.

When we sin, no matter how often, no matter how horribly or how lightly, Christ does not have to be crucified again…therefore once we have trusted in Jesus’ blood to save us we cannot let go of our own salvation, we cannot give it back, we are unable to give it up, set it aside nor does God remove salvation from us when we have been bad.

If it were up to us to keep our own salvation, how much sin or what particular sin has enough power over the spotless, precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God? I did not save myself and I cannot keep myself. That would be self-reliance. And that is pride.

Praise God! Nothing I have done or ever do could save me! Nothing I do keeps me! Praise Jesus, I don’t possess any power, apart from the Spirit of God Himself living in me, to walk in the Spirit, or to stay away from sin! Anything right and good in me is ALL HIM! May I never, EVER boast in ANYthing but the blood of Jesus Christ alone! HIS power and HIS grace is enough! Our only part is to say, “Yes!”.

Read Hebrews chapter 9. Read the books of John, Romans, and Ephesians! Learn the plain, simple, Glorious Truth of what Jesus did, what HE finished for you and me, for whosoever will! God’s Word manifests to us Who He is, but not only Who He is , but we also learn through His Word who we are…past, present, and future! Look into The Holy Scriptures to see God, to see His Son, His Holy Spirit, to see others and to see yourself. The Holy Bible is the only place to find and see Truth.

Thank You, Jesus, for the rest and assurance that your salvation gives to me. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit alive in me…Who never leaves me helpless or powerless; Who never leaves me to myself; Who never allows me to sin, even a speck, without repercussion; Who inspires me to love; Who empowers me to do good; Who stirs up in me deep gratitude for the precious grace I have received! His grace alone is enough to inspire me to pursue godly living, just because I love HIM. I love Him. I trust in Him fully, securely…HE is all I need.

Is He all you need? Do you fully rely on Jesus? Have you placed all your faith in the one time blood sacrifice of The Saviour, Jesus Christ? Do you know that you are saved by His grace? Do you know that Jesus is enough?

Growing in grace, Melissa

*For digging deeper I recommend reading…

Hebrews (chapter 9 sparked this post)
John
Romans
Ephesians

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~Are you looking for a home church that stands alone on the Word of God and is making a difference in their community, where men, women, children, teens, and families are growing in grace!?!

~Ladies, would you be blessed to meet together on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights with a group of praying women who thrive on studying God’s Word and encouraging each other!?!

Well then, if you live in the Indianapolis area or are ever passing through, I want to personally invite you to join us at Hope Baptist Church! Find us on the web @ http://www.hbcindy.com/.

C.H. Spurgeon ~ A Message in Hebrews

Ladies,

I just had to pass on to you the link for Charles Spurgeon’s message on the first few verses of Hebrews chapter 1. I hope you will read it. He does a marvelous job breaking down the first few verses describing Who Jesus is, what Jesus did and what Jesus enjoys now. Reading commentaries and messages on Hebrews can be helpful resources and study aids as we keep notes and journals in our Bible study notebook.

Enjoy!

Growing in grace,
Melissa

Turn Your Whine into Worship

It is sinful, human nature to gripe about things. But, it is dangerous. Whining and complaining is like a nasty disease that will spread quickly and violently if it’s not treated right away! And we all know that once we have developed a bad habit it is not easy to turn it around! The sooner we can catch that nasty habit, and do something about it, the better!

Children seem to be especially prone to whining, and sadly many never outgrow it. Parents have to train them that they do not get what they want by whining but by being grateful and we have to train them to look for and see their blessings. At our house, with the Lord’s help, we’ve tried to think of ways we can discipline ourselves to worship instead of whine. Here are some new habits we are developing in our family.

*** Every time we pray before we ask the Lord for anything we first thank Him for something! This is a great way to train ourselves to see our blessings and praise the Lord for all He has done! God inhabits the praises of His people! That is where He lives, and dwells! And, it’s wonderful how gratitude always radically changes our outlook, our perspective…an added blessing!

*** When any of us is griping, or grumbling about anything, such as, their sister, their friend, their food, cleaning their room, putting their laundry away, loading the dishwasher, their schoolwork, their hair, their toys, not feeling well, the many chores of homemaking and motherhood, or whatever it is, then we stop and say “Do not complain about your blessings!”. When we look at what’s bothering us in a different light then we realize that we are really complaining about our blessings.

What if something happened to that precious sister, family member or friend!

What if we only had beans and rice as our one and only meal of the day or what if we had no food at all! What if we couldn’t make that trip to the grocery store with all those heavy bags to unload into the trunk then unload them again into the house then unload them again into the pantry? It’s all a blessing!!!

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Some children would love to have a bedroom to clean with a bed of soft, warm covers and a pillow to make up, and clothes, shoes, toys and games to pick up and put away! And what a blessing that we are healthy enough to do these tasks!

What a blessing to have soap and hot water to wash dishes and an added blessing to have a machine that cleans them for us! And by the way, we have a machine for just about anything…we have machines that wash and dry the clothes, wash and dry the dishes, cook the food when and how we tell it to, sweep the floors! And when there are dishes to wash and a kitchen to clean that’s a sure reminder that there was food to eat and family or friends to share and enjoy a meal with!!!

There are children in the world that long to go to school and learn! There are children and adults who only dream of having shelves full of books to read anytime they want, school supplies and workbooks and pencils and paper and crayons and computers! My goodness! And what else? Eyes to see, ears to hear, hands and fingers to write, a mind to think.

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And most of the time whatever we are going through, whatever illness or condition, we can always be so thankful it is not worse than it is.

On and on we can go, because our blessings are so rich and bountiful when we think about how much we don’t do without and the multitude of annoyances, trials or horrors we do not have to endure!!! We have nothing to complain about and much, much, much to be thankful for!!!

*** Lastly, the newest habit we are implementing is this. As soon as one of us starts whining we stop them and immediately they must say, “A blessing I am thankful for is______________.” This turns our whine into worship right away!

It’s so good to share new ideas for living out God’s Word in a real way! What are ways that you have turned whine into worship? Has it become a way of life for you, for your family?

Walking with Jesus &
Growing in grace,

~photos courtesy of Amazima Ministries

Change My Heart, O, God!
Amazima Ministries
Amazima Ministries blog
Kisses from Katie blog
A Harvest of What is Yet to Come

Good Morning Girls ~ Ephesians Week 12 ~ Part I

On this closing day of our Good Morning Girls Ephesians book club I share with you our final week’s study notes in two parts. It has been a joy to study along with you! The book of Ephesians has blessed my heart, blessed my life and spurred me on in the Lord!

God bless you as you continue to devote a portion of every day to spend time with Jesus, the King of kings! It’s a daily Father/Daughter date! That He would meet with me makes me feel so cared for! I know I am loved by Almighty God, the Designer and Creator of the Universe!

Now notes from Ephesians…

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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Good morning!:) In Ephesians 6:7-8 Paul continues to teach how we are to obey our masters.
We are to have good intentions, good will toward them or we could also say, no ill-will or ill-intent. We should also know that the Lord will reward all we do here in earth and in heaven.
As I go about my duties, am I respectful or am I critical? Am I guarded against being self-centered or having an entitlement attitude or do I have genuine good will toward those I serve?

Friday, March 30, 2012
Good morning, Ephesians Book Club!:) Today we are in Ephesians 6:9. Masters, (leaders, bosses), just as servants/workers are expected to treat you w/respect, sincerity, and genuine good will, masters are to dedicate themselves to do likewise. Give up disrespectful, threatening leadership. Human masters are to know that their Master is in Heaven judging earthly matters without partiality. Recall Philippians 2:3!

Let nothing be done
through strife or vainglory;
but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem other
better than themselves.

Whether the captain or the crew, may we always serve others and esteem them better then ourselves!

Monday, April 2, 2012
Good Morning as we kick off the final week of our Ephesians Bible study/book club with Ephesians 6:10-12! Until the Lord returns let us all continually be strengthened by His mighty power! It is imperative that we arm ourselves with the equipment God has provided in order for us to stand in the battle against the devil’s schemes. While it may appear our enemy is mankind, it is not. Our enemy is the devil and his workers. This is a spiritual battle for eternal souls!
Therefore, let’s stop fighting each other, especially at home, remember these conflicts we face daily are only temporal. What really matters is Eternity! So, when I’m in a struggle, I’ll keep putting on the whole armor of God and then ask myself, in light of Eternity does this really matter!?!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Good Morning to you! Do you start your day, head into battle, without putting on your armor? God tells us in Ephesians 6:13-15 & also 16-17 this is our defense against the evil that continually threatens His children in this world. Just as it’d be crazy to show up for combat wearing blue jeans, t-shirt, flip flops, carrying a squirt gun, it’s just as foolish and naive to walk in this world an unprepared, unarmed Christian. Literally, let’s put on our full armor of God before we face each day encounter any situation.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Good morning! We are almost to the end of the book of Ephesians! And signs show we quickly are nearing the end of this age, though no one knows the end but the Father. Times are hard. The devil is frantic. Christians must stand strong! Take up the shield of faith, put on the helmet of salvation, hold on to the Sword of the Spririt~God’s Word! We can quench the fiery darts of the devil! Watch over yourselves, your family, your home! Let’s give him no foothold! Let’s look alive! Let’s suit up! (Ephesians 6:16-17)

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Good morning! From Ephesians 6:18 my encouragement today is this… After “having done all to stand” we are then told to PRAY for one another in the Spirit. Remember on every occasion, every chance we get to earnestly and humbly seek God. Watch, pay attention, be vigilant. Despite the difficulties, despite setbacks, despite opposition LOOK to GOD, PRAY and STAND against the fiery darts of evil! Steadfastly FOLLOW after that which is GOOD! Take our eyes off the world and keep our eyes on the LORD! We can do that! God bless you and your family! God bless your home!

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Walking with Jesus,

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Good Morning Girls ~ Ephesians Week 12 ~ Part II

Good Morning Girls ~ Ephesians Week 12 ~ Part II

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Friday, April 6, 2012
Good Morning on this final day of our GMG Ephesians book study! It’s been a blessed journey!

Today we close with Paul’s detailed request for prayer in Ephesians 6: 19-24. I see 7 requests on his prayer list that progressively become more specific.

May this be our prayer, as well.

1- I pray that God will give me *utterance; that He will give me a voice, an opportunity to speak.

*utterance: articulation; a stated or published expression; a voice; power, style or manner of speaking

2- I pray that I will open my mouth *boldly.

*boldly: fearlessly, bravely; confident, assured

3- I pray that I will be a witness and promote the Gospel of truth.

4- I pray that I will be a witness wherever I am speaking assuredly just as the Lord would have me speak.

5- I pray that I will be transparent and accountable to the family of God.

6- I pray that I, with my family or any other team I might minister alongside, will be a comfort and an encouragement to the family of God, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

7- I pray that I will be a blessing, bringing to the brethren who sincerely love Jesus…peace, God’s faithful love, and grace.

Walking with Jesus,

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*Good Morning Girls ~ Ephesians Week 12 ~ Part I

-photo credit: source unknown

A Boost from Ephesians

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Good Morning as we kick off the final week of our Ephesians Bible study/book club w/Eph 6:10-12!

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Until the Lord returns let us all continually be strengthened by His mighty power!

It is imperative that we arm ourselves with the equipment God has provided in order for us to stand in the battle against the devil’s schemes.

While it may appear our enemy is mankind, it is not. Our enemy is the devil and his workers. This is a spiritual battle for eternal souls!

Therefore, let’s stop fighting one another, especially at home, remember these conflicts we face daily are only temporal.

What really matters is Eternity!

So, when I’m in a struggle, I’ll keep putting on the whole armor of God & then ask myself…in light of Eternity does this really matter!?!

Swallowed Up

Psalm 56

Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up;
he fighting daily oppresseth me.

Mine enemies would daily swallow me up:
for they be many that fight against me, O Thou Most High.

What time I am afraid,
I will trust in Thee.

In God I will praise His word,
in God I have put my trust; I will not fear
what flesh can do unto me.

Every day they wrest my words:
all their thoughts are against me for evil.

They gather themselves together, they hide themselves,
they mark my steps,
when they wait for my soul.

Shall they escape by iniquity?
in Thine anger cast down the people, O God.

Thou tellest my wanderings:
put Thou my tears into Thy bottle:
are they not in Thy book?

When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemies turn back:
this I know; for God is for me.

In God will I praise His Word:
in the Lord will I praise His Word.

In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid
what man can do unto me.

Thy vows are upon me, O God:
I will render praises unto Thee.

For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

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Do you feel like you are being swallowed up?! I have times like that too. Some days it seems like everything is against me, fighting daily to oppress me?! The devil is always breathing down my back, ready to pounce! What can I do?! Is there anything I can do?! YES!

Psalm 56 tells me just what to do!

1) Ask God for His mercy.

2) Acknowledge my enemy or enemies. Beware that everyday they are out to get me.
Even more so, be fully aware, God is stronger! God is greater!

3) Go straight to the Lord!

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4) When I’m afraid, put my trust in God.

5) Praise God’s Holy Word. Thank Him for my Bible, His promises! Stand on the promises of God my Saviour!

6) Do not be afraid of what (flesh) anyone or anything can do to me.

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7) Remember that God keeps track of me. He is watching over me. He is listening. He knows every tear I cry and my tears are precious to Him. He knows my name!

8) Repeat #4, 5, and 6!

9) Remember that God’s promises are with me and give Him my praise, my thanksgiving!

10) Remember that God has delivered my soul from hell and prepares a place for me in Heaven for eternity! So, of course He will also deliver me here in this life so I am able to walk with Him alive in the light!

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Walking with Jesus,

Please note: The saluting soldier in the photo is, MAJOR Darrell Bowman, Officer Candidate School Manager, Camp Atterbury IGR. That soldier is my Daddy! I love him and I’m so very proud of him!

Please also note: *These photos are the property of my father, Dr. Darrell Bowman, and should not be used without permission. Thank you.