Yesterday my mom was reading out loud to me the verse John 15:13 and the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. We are so blessed to have Jesus, who set a wonderful example of being a loving, faithful friend! It made me realize more of what it means to be a true friend.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13
"What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forefit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!"
I hope reading this encourages you to remember that Jesus loves you adn is always here for you, wanting to be your best friend.
"And we know that all things work together for good for them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
- Romans 8:28
Hi, everyone! Life is a very special thing that God created for us; an opportunity filled with unexplainable, intricate beauty. But, life doesn’t always go the way we want, does it?
Have you ever asked yourself this question: “Why would God allow bad things to happen to me?” I know I have. Sometimes that question whirls around in my mind. We were taught that Jesus is a loving God, right? Then why do difficult things happen?
The answer to those questions is actually found in Romans 8:28. It says that all things work together for good for them that love God. Things happen in this world that we don’t understand, but He does! Jesus understands everything, the whole picture. That reminds me of an illustration I heard once. We can picture each situation in our lives as a single piece of colored string. When we look at life, it’s like looking at the back of a tapestry, with all of the jumbled, different colored strings going this way and that way, and we just see a mess! Meanwhile, God sees the front and is creating something beautiful.
Each part of our lives plays an important role in that beautiful tapestry, including every difficulty. Now, I don’t know why we need sadness in our lives to help weave a masterpiece, but God does know, and He loves us so much!
I hope this verse really helps you in your life; it definitely helped me! Also, feel free to ask any questions you like in the comments below. Thanks!
Before I begin, I have something to say. I am not a Bible scholar and I’m not even the best at reading my Bible every day. I’m just a teen girl who loves Jesus and chocolate and I’m still figuring things out. So if you’re looking for tips on studying your Bible from a pro, you’ve come to the wrong blog post. I can’t give you the perfect Bible reading plan, but I do want to help you get a little better at studying your Bible and knowing God’s word. Ready? Let’s get started!
Finding the right fit:
Before you skip down to look at the different ways to study your Bible, read this. Every person has a different life. Every person has a different schedule. Every person has different needs. Not every Bible study program is going to work for everyone and that’s ok! If you try one of my suggestions (or all of them) and it doesn’t work for you, don’t worry. I’ve tried many Bible study programs and I have a hard time finding something that works for me! I hope that at least one thing I say works for you, but there is no cookie cutter pattern for Bible studying. Keep trying at tweaking programs until you find something that works for you and helps you grow.
Get a book:
If you want to really study a certain subject in the Bible, find a Bible study book about it. That’s the best way to get in depth without having to spend hours pouring over references. It’s pretty strait forward and easy.
Go on your own:
The next best way (and really, only other option) to study at home is by go in depth on your own. Pick a passage of scripture you are interested in and dig deeper. Look in the back of your Bible where you should have a concordance. Look up cross references to the words in your chosen passage of scripture and maybe even look them up in a dictionary. Even word you think you may know might surprise you.
"For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee." - Psalm 86:5
How many of you have ever totally messed something up? I haven’t so I’m not sure what that’s like, but this verse is for you!
LIAR!! I have definitely messed up a lot. Every person that breathes on this earth has done something bad that they later regretted. It’s in our blood. As soon as Eve bit into the forbidden fruit, we were destined to mess up, sin, and be anything but perfect.
Sometimes it feels like I don’t deserve all these blessings, but you know what? This verse tells us that God is standing with his arms wide open. He’s just waiting to forgive you the instant you want Him to. His mercy is plenteous and He wants to use it. All you have to do it go to Him. Call on God and crawl into those arms. He won’t reject you, no matter what your faults.
Before I say another word, let me remind you that I am not a Bible scholar. I am a teen girl who occasionally (a lot less than I’d like) reads her Bible and about 50% off the time understands what she reads. Now that you know my extreme lack of qualifications, let’s dive in.
Despite my lack of knowledge, I love truly studying a verse in the Bible to understand what it means. Studying a single verse can help you gain a really deep appreciation for what it says! It also helps you go deeper during your personal devo time (as well as allowing you to understand verses that confuse you!). Today, I’ll be sharing some really simple but great ways to decode difficult verses and do a bit of deeper study on a passage!
1. Look Up Words
Yep, that word that you pretend you understand but can’t actually define..look it up and figure out what it means! This can really help you understand what a passage is saying. You can also try ‘rewriting’ the verse with the word’s definition in place of the word.
2. Use A Commentary
While it might not help you understand the intricacies of a particular phrase, a Bible commentary is a great resource that can offer additional context about a passage (eg, explain Biblical customs, the significance of an event, etc). You can use a paper commentary or find one online!
3. Try Different Translations
Still don’t understand a verse? Try reading it in different translations. Sometimes passages that I don’t understand in NIV make sense to me in KJV, or the NLT version adds meaning to another translation. It’s fine to have favorite translations (don’t we all?) but it’s also great to read several for a well-rounded interpretation of a verse.
4. Diagram It
Sorry for sounding like your 6th grade English teacher! But that is, essentially, what I mean. Write out the verse you are studying and diagram it. Circle verbs, highlight God’s name, and essentially look at the grammar, words and structure. The sentence itself, not the words, is often the most confusing part of a verse. Studying the grammar, playing with it and even restructuring the sentence might help!
Pray for God’s insight into a passage. The author always knows their own work better than anyone, especially when the author is God!
Have fun studying Bible verses. I hope these tips make scripture come alive in new ways for you!
"But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." - Psalms 1:2
I’ve read this verse a lot, but to be honest, it baffles me a bit! I mean, delighting in laws? Meditating on them day and night? What is King David talking about in this Psalm? Today, I would like to take some time to unpack Psalms 1:2 together.
Here we go: I tend to think of laws as a list of “don’ts”. If this is true, why would I ever get really excited about rules and limitations - even ones placed by God? Now it’s time to shift our perspective. Maybe the author of this verse (King David) isn’t getting all excited because God told him to pray regularly and not to steal. Instead, maybe David is finding delight in God’s laws because they prove how much God cares about us.
God didn’t make up a whole bunch of rules that he expects us to follow because he wants to make our lives hard! He gave us rules to serve as boundaries to keep us safe and right where we are meant to be - close to him. His rules are also perfectly designed (by a perfect creator!), so that even if we don’t understand why God gave us a certain command, we can trust that it is 100% worth following.
Now, we’ll talk about meditating on God’s laws. I wasn’t fully sure what meditating meant, so I looked it up. Turns out, (according to Google Dictionary), meditating means to “think deeply and carefully about something.” I love that! So in this verse, King David is talking about regularly making time to think about God’s perfect laws. Maybe he thought about which commands he needed to follow more closely, or maybe he just simply sat and praised the creator behind such intentionally designed rules. Either way, meditating on God’s word (and his laws!) is an incredible way to spend a few minutes!
So, now that I have just bombarded you with info, how will you delight in and meditate on God’s laws today?
PS. This post got long fast! Sorry! :)
"Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." - 1 Peter 1:16
My pastor has a saying that is pretty funny and also filled with truth: “You can’t buy faith at the grocery store.” It makes a lot of sense because, for one thing, faith isn’t physical and only God’s word can give you faith. That makes a lot of sense. Today I am going to apply that same concept to a different topic. “You can’t buy holiness at a grocery store.”
The verse above says that we are supposed to be holy because God is holy, but since I have already established the fact that you can’t buy holiness, how are you and I supposed to be holy? I looked up the definition of holy in the dictionary and this is what it says:
“Dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred”
So to be holy, someone or something has to be dedicated to God. You might be thinking “Um..... and how am I supposed to do that? Become a teenage pastor or something?” but God knows each and every one of us and so he never gives a commandment that is impossible for us to achieve. Maybe you can’t give your whole life to God but you can serve him in your everyday life. Read your bible, talk about God and even pray that God would use your life how he sees fit.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
What do you think of when you hear the word “new”? What springs to your mind?
I think of something being fresh, clean, exciting, never-seen-before. I picture January 1, a house that still smells like fresh wood and elegantly wrapped packages. I also picture me. Huh, you ask?
In this verse, Paul is explaining that anyone who believes in Christ has been made new - they are not the same as they were before they were saved by God. God renews and recreates the spirit anyone who believes in him, making them into ‘a new creature’ that is set free from their sins.
This is a hard concept for us to grasp, but it is so important, because it tells us that all of our mistakes and sins are in the past. If you have asked for God’s forgiveness and placed your faith in him, you are literally not the same girl that you were (whoa!). Let the thought fill you will joy and hope as you face a new day and a new year.
Behold, all things are becoming new! Love,
Nope, not a typo. I want you to read the whole first chapter in Luke. It gives such beautiful detail about the nativity. As A has been telling you about, Christmas is about Christ. Christ is even in the name “Christmas”. Christmas is like a big birthday party for the one the gave us the ability to be born again. The whole reason we even give gifts is because it signifies the wisemen bring gifts to the baby Jesus.
So let’s celebrate the season to let Jesus know that we love him. He deserves our whole hearts so let’s give it to him.
P.S. Want to know a cool fact? Watch the night sky on December 21st. Astrologers are saying that two planets will come together on that night and it will look like the star that lead the wisemen to the manger! It will be visible from anywhere in the world.
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” - Matthew 1:17 KJV
A few weeks ago, I shared about Matthew 1:21 and the wonder of Christmas. Today, I want to share about an
often-overlooked part of Jesus’ story - his genealogy (his earthly family tree).
Read the verse above again. So Jesus was descended from Abraham and King David (as well as Ruth, Rahab and Solomon, if you read the full passage), and there are three sets of 14 generations each. Throughout the entire Old Testament, God was preparing for Jesus’ birth. He wove a genealogy that included so many notable people from the Old Testament whose stories you might have studied. All of this to create the perfect set-up so that when the time was right, his son could enter the world as a lowly infant in a manger to save you and I from our sins.
So beautiful. So intentional. So perfect. Take some time today to celebrate Christmas and thank God for the way he orchestrated every tiny detail of Jesus’ birth, because it is incredible! God never ceases to amaze me.