Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do you find reading
much less studying the Bible

I know I did for the most part until I learned how to study my Bible.
I did not see how things related to one another
within a chapter of a book of the Bible,
much less how one book related to another, etc.

It was a puzzle.

I felt I had a box of puzzle pieces without a photo to look at
so I could begin to seek for someone or something
to help me find what the picture was to become.

Have you been there, too?

It helps to think of reading the Bible or a portion of the Bible
as you would handle a jigsaw puzzle.

First things first. . .
what would you first do?

You'd dump out the pieces on a table, turn them right side up and then. . .

then you'd look for the corners and edge pieces.

In scripture there are things you want to look for first:

Make a list of them, if not on paper, in your head.

Then you would look the pieces of the puzzle over carefully again
and look for the pieces whose color and design printed upon them were similar
(focus on each chapter individually)

You would then look at those separate groupings
and see if the groups parts fit together and you'd fit together what you could
(how do the chapters flow from one to the other)

Then you might begin to see which groups are possibly connecting to other groups
(what is the picture within the chapters of the book?)

Bit by bit you would see order taking place

You'd see differences, connections, and similarities

And a picture would begin to form that shows parts and the bigger picture.

You'd really need the picture but you could complete the puzzle if you took extra time.

And it would be more successful if you shared this experience, right?

It would be more fun, too.

And you'd see things come together
and appreciate they things others saw that you had not.

So this can occur in Bible study & reading of the scriptures.

That said, consider joining a group online, or better yet,
in your local church or community
to study a book within the Bible.

The study method I learned to use to step by step
put together an understanding
of the Bible and its books
is the inductive study method.

Want to learn more?

The best to-date study program I've found is

You can find local classes from their website or click on the right column logo
on my page to find classes in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

You'll get "the picture" through their studies,
I can't recommend them highly enough.

After 20 years, I'm still studying with them.

Try it and let me know what you discover!

Can't find a class? Learn online

or order their book How To Study Your Bible
(or find it at Amazon or your local bookstore)

Truth For Life
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statues
I will not forget your word.

Psalm 119:9-16

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Our sweet granddaughter is now 2!

We are excited to celebrate her birthday. . .
here is a quick scan of nearly 1 to 2

Truth For Life

The LORD bless you from Zion,
And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
may you see your children's children
Peace be upon Israel!

Psalm 128:5-6

Monday, January 04, 2010

A "Little Christmas" or
"Ladies Christmas" Tea

what is this you ask? Read on. . . . . .

Homemade/individually wrapped chocolate marshmallows
and freshly peeled and segmented orange segments

Tea sandwiches

Cups awaiting my guests choice of beverage,
I poured for each guest

the table from one view

another view of the table

A Blessing for Nollaig na mBan

Women's Christmas

May you always seek your spiritual star

Away from home, whether near or far.

May you delight in wonders unforeseen,

And in new adventures only just begun.

A blessing on your Epiphany tea,

May all go well with that,

and may all go well with you and yours

in the year that lies ahead.

The feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th.
It commemorates the arrival of the Wise men. It is the final day of of the 12 Days of Christmas and is the time when seasonal decorations are to be taken down. It is also known as Little Christmas in Ireland. In Irish, Nollaig na mBan, means Women's Christmas. Traditionally the woman of the home was given one day off after the 12 days of cooking and acting as hostess for the holiday. The men would take over the household duties while the women went out with their friends. And they would head to local pubs, etc. to visit, sip, and eat.

This tradition is sadly dying out, but I read about it in a post by a tea friend and decided that I would host a tea by this name for the same reason. And so I planned it, sent out the invitations, and the ladies of my neighborhood street came! We'd been snowed in by a highly unusual blizzard on Christmas Eve followed by bitter cold so we had been in home or fighting bad roads for a number of days and a time with some ladies sounded GOOD!

The Menu

Cucumber sandwiches on white rounds of bread

Cream cheese with minced spanish olives
on wheat bread cut into stars

Freshly peeled and segmented Clementine oranges

Tiny cherry preserve tarts

Snowball cookies

Freshly made-from-scratch cream scones
Mock devonshire cream
Apricot preserves

Baci candy from Italy
(Baci means kiss)

Homemade chocolate marshmallows
(from Williams Sonoma, a gift we received)

For the beverages choices:
Betjeman and Barton's Christmas Tea
Harney and Sons Christmas Black Tea
and spiced apple cider

Truth For Life
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
"'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will
shepherd my people Israel.' Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed to their own country by another way.
Matthew 2:1-12

P.S. Happy birthday, Avery, our Epiphany grandbaby!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Welcome January!

Happy New Year!

It is a new year, "twenty ten" is the phrase I hear our new year being called.
Today in church we heard about the meaning of this month's name.
It can be related to the spirit of annual resolutions that abound these first weeks.

The information I have gathered this afternoon is:
The first of January was dedicated by the Romans to their god of Gates and Doors, Janus.
A very old Italian god, Janus has a distinctive artistic appearance in that he is commonly
depicted with two regarding what is behind and the other looking toward what lies ahead.
Thus, Janus is representative of contemplation on the happenings of an old year
while looking forward to the new.

Some sources claim that Janus was characterized in such a peculiar fashion
due to the notion that doors and gates look in two directions.

Therefore, the god could look both backward and forward at the same time.

In his role as the Guardian of Exits and Entrances, Janus was also believed to represent beginnings. The explanation for this belief being that one must emerge through a door or gate in order to enter into a new place. Therefore, the Romans also considered Janus as the god of Beginnings and his name was an obvious choice for the first month of their year...a month referred to by the Ancient Romans as Ianuarius, which is not so far removed from the modern-day "January,"
taken from the Etruscan word jauna which means "door."

So, as I see the beginning of this new year in light of my faith,
I take time to look back, learn from the past year, and look forward,
making intentional plans for the year yet to unfold.

The plans will not be merely physical ones such as :
lose weight, more time with family, make better use of our finances, etc.
but deeper ones, the ones that are the rich soil
in which all of these usual physical plans are best planted.

So, my dear reader, do your plans echo mine?
I'm wondering.

I don't know what you have sensed as essentials for living a God centered life in 2010.

Mine include:

Slower reading, meditating upon and memorization of scripture
as God highlights them in my portions of daily reading through the Bible.

Listening to the Word more often via podcast and CD's. . .
listening to the text I'm studying.

Letting God guide me to have not just a full calendar
but a meaningFUL calendar. I like that difference.

Ending each day with a re-reading of the day's reading (in NASB)
but in a different translation as I drop off to sleep. (in ESV)

In other words:

I want to bear more fruit

and to make disciples and be further discipled.

See John 15

Here is a commitment written in 1785,
read it and consider how shallow our resolutions have become.
This is heavy stuff, this is deep, this is more of what Christ called us to consider:

I give myself up to your will in all things.
I am no longer my own but yours. So make me what you will;
put me where you will, rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and with a willing heart,
yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed
God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
you are mine, and I am yours.

So be it.

And this covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.


John Wesley

Truth For Life
Be careful then how you live,
not as unwise people but as wise,
making the most of your time,
because the days are evil.
So do not be foolish,
but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-16