What are Your Study Habits?

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When I was a green seventeen-year old beginning my first year of college, I went through an orientation week affectionately called “WOW week” (aka Week of Welcome). In one of our mandatory sessions, the Dean of the College of Sciences asked us the following:

How many hours did you study in high school?

Do you know how to take notes?

Do you know the importance of rest?

Having graduated second in my high school class, I had little concern about my study habits because I knew they were sound. I am not a genius so I had to spend hours (about 30 hours/week) studying, taking detailed notes, recopying my notes as a study method, and prioritizing my projects. I continued these habits in college and managed to graduate cum laude. Persistence really does pay off.

A few years after college, this question was posed to me:

“Do we devote as much time to studying the Bible as we did studying for our chosen professions?” Continue reading

Why Study the Bible?

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Last week, I shared with you why I ditched my Bible reading plan, and relayed my current plan for trekking through the book of Romans.

In the past week and a half, I have read through Romans three times. I’ve read and reread various chapters, trying to grasp the bigger picture of the letter. I thought, perhaps, that if I focused solely on Romans, I would draw more from the text.

Sadly, I STILL found myself continuing to tune out, fighting to keep my mind on the task at hand.

Continue reading

Why I Ditched My Bible Reading Plan

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/BtNxJsFOjtQ

 

Three days ago, I ditched my daily bible reading plan. Not the habit, mind you, just my appointed plan… We had a “falling out” of sorts. Continue reading

Never go into a fight without these 5 things… (Day 21 of the #encourage marathon)

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In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…

~ Ephesians‬ ‭6:16-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to mile-marker 21 of our #encourage marathon! If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.

Someone out there is defenseless. It might even be you.

Do you ever yell at people in movies, even if it’s just in your head? “Don’t leave your weapon on the ground!” Or “What are you thinking going into that place alone? You need backup!” It’s almost like the person in the movie has lost common sense. Anybody with two eyes can spot the danger. These scenes are suspense winders, designed to heighten your sense of anticipation so that you will jump at the right moment.

(Honestly though, why would you drop your weapon when you know that the likelihood of attack is high?)

As Christians, we have 5 things we absolutely need to use everyday. Unfortunately, there are times we cast one aside or simply forget them—to our peril. Continue reading

What would you do without your Bible? (day 17 of the #encourage marathon)

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For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

~ Romans 15.4, ESV

Welcome to mile-marker 17 of our #encourage marathon. (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.)

Someone out there has a starving soul. It might even be you.

What is your reaction when you misplace your cell phone? What do you do when you leave home without it? Do you feel a spike in your stress level?

Why?

Because we use our phones for everything. It’s a source for music, books, news, communication, information, weather, and navigation. We can get help instantly in an emergency (as long as we have a signal). We can even monitor our home security systems. It’s become a valuable tool and a lot of people would feel lost without it… unfortunately.

Now, what would happen if your only bible went missing? Continue reading

Run with discipline (day 9 of #encourage marathon)

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Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

So I do not run aimlessly;

I do not box as one beating the air.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to mile-marker 9 of our 26-day #Encourage Marathon! (You can read yesterday’s post here.)

Someone out there is feeling aimless today. It might even be you.

Sometimes in this race of life we become distracted by our pain, the ugliness or beauty around us, the other runners and sundry temptations. We forget why we started running in the first place and drift aimlessly down the road. It’s time to get back on track and start running with discipline.

Continue reading

3 Words You Need Every Single Day

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Every single day we face some form of testing. Every day we are beset with a trial of some kind. Every day God is watching to see what we will do with the time we are given.

A couple days ago, I listened to a successful woman talk about how she built her business out of the trunk of her car while she was homeless. Today, she earns six to seven figures every year. While I didn’t agree with everything she said, there was one thing that was spot on—stop making excuses! People have been making excuses or blame-shifting since the beginning of time.

Here are a few examples of excuse-makers from the Bible:

Adam and Eve.

“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3.12-13)

Moses. 

“They will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.”

“Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” (Exodus 4.1-17)

Jesus.

Hang on! Jesus didn’t make excuses!

Exactly. 

Even though He had plenty of times when He could have chosen to disobey or do something different, He did what He was supposed to do and never had to make excuses.

When Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4, he was hungry. He’d fasted for 40 days in the middle of the desert. There was no Starbucks nearby, no McDonalds, and no market. When Satan tempts Jesus, He doesn’t start with the “worship Satan” bit; Satan strikes at Jesus’ immediate physical need. He attacks Him where He thinks He’ll be most vulnerable: “Command these stones to be turned into bread.”

After 40 days without a morsel of food, heaven-made bread sounds mighty tempting. Could Jesus have done it? Yes! Would this have please God? No! Did he have a good excuse to turn stones into bread? Well, surely if he was hungry… at least, that’s what we would think.

Jesus refused to make excuses. He obeyed God without wavering. 3 times Satan tempted Him and He didn’t budge. He wasn’t going to slip and then make some lame excuse to His Father.

How did Jesus resist temptation? You might say, “Well, He was the son of God, wasn’t He? He couldn’t be tempted at all.” He was the Son of God, but He was also in bodily form. He still hungered. He still thirsted. He was still subject to the same emotional and physical discomforts and yes, temptations. In spite of all these things, He resisted temptation with three words.

Are you ready to learn the 3 words that need to fill your mind, heart, soul and lips?

When you face trouble of any kind, say these three words in your mind:

IT IS WRITTEN

If you are tempted, say to yourself, “It is written” and then recall to your mind what God has said on the subject.

If you are tempted to stare overlong at that attractive-looking woman, the first three words to pop in your head should be: “It is written,” If you start looking at your friends and all their neat-o stuff and start wanting it for yourself, the first three words to pop into your head should be: “It is written.” If you find yourself burning with anger against a friend who has wronged you, don’t justify or excuse your feelings, say aloud or in your mind, “It is written.”

“Hang on, Elihu—you didn’t fill in the rest! I can’t walk around saying, ‘It is written’ because I don’t know what to fill in the blank!”

That sounds an awful lot like an excuse to me.

Why don’t you know what to fill in the blank? Because those 3 words aren’t driving you! You cannot bring every thought into captivity, you cannot fight temptation and you will not stand in time of testing if those 3 words don’t motivate you.

In Hosea 4, God says this through the prophet:

Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land;
There is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
They break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish…
Yet let no one contend,and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest…

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,I also will forget your children.

Hosea 4.1-6, ESV (click the link for the full context)

We, like the Israelites will be undone if we do not commit God’s Word to our heart every single day for the rest of our lives. We always think we have more time than we really do. I hear about people dying every day. Pixels and ink bring us the last vestiges of people who died in sudden crashes, earthquakes, cancer, heart attacks—all of whom thought they had more time.

We only have today. What are you going to do with your time?

It is written: 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5.15-17, ESV

and

 

Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.

Psalm 119.11, NASB

 

When you hear yourself make excuses about not having time to read, stop yourself mid-sentence, grab your Bible or your iPad or your iPhone and start reading. You don’t even need an app, just go to BibleGateway.com. It is urgent! The time to commit the Word to your heart is today, before the next temptation comes your way! Yes, we are covered by grace! Yes, things happen! But those should not be excuses for neglecting the most powerful tool in our arsenal against Satan.

Would you go to battle with no weapon?

What would Jesus do if He was living in your life, walking in your shoes? He’d make knowing God and meditating on His Word priority one. He’d meet temptation with the Word, ready to say, “I won’t do that because it is Written…” Jesus would pray for wisdom. He’d prepare to wage war against the devils schemes.

 

Today, as you prepare to face whatever challenges lay before you, repeat these three words, “It is written.” Take time on your drive to work or while you’re eating breakfast with your children to start putting the words of God into your mind so you will be ready when the time of testing begins.