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How to Read and Understand Genesis

One of my very first memories of reading the book of Genesis was in 6th grade at an upward basketball game, hiding behind a stack of chairs. My friend Rebecca had told me that she read the book of Genesis the night before, and not to be outdone, I obviously had to read the whole book too. I remember wondering why Enoch was “taken” instead of dying like all the rest of the old guys and I can pinpoint my fascination with the story of Joseph to that read through. That fascination led me to check out books about Joseph regularly from our church library. 

Fast forward a few years and my plans to read the Bible all the way through were constantly stunted about the time I finished Genesis, so it is probably one of my most-read books of the Bible. 

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Genesis is the first book of the Bible and the beginning story of all creation. The word genesis literally translates to “origins.” This book tells the story of how God created humanity, how...

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God is Infinite

Uncategorized Sep 11, 2019

One time I asked my dad to take one of my dogs to the vet to get spayed. I said that Duff needed to go to the vet, but I couldn’t leave work at the time that they needed her there. My dad called me to see if he had the correct dog, since I have two dogs, and they are both black. 

He was calling Jules (the wrong dog) by the name Duff (the right dog) but ultimately he had the wrong dog. 

I think that sometimes, we think we are talking about the one true God, but because we don’t truly know who He is and what His character is like, we have the wrong god. 

If we are going to have a faith that lasts, we need to know who we are putting our faith in. We need to make sure we have the right God.

We also need to know that this side of heaven we will never understand our God fully. We won’t truly know Him until we get to meet Him face to face. The Bible says that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah...

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5 Tips for Studying the Bible

bible study Aug 09, 2019

Last year, Rhett and I went to the Grand Canyon and viewed it from the rim. We could look over the edge, see the mark it made in the earth, and get a sense of its size but that wide view was it. We didn’t get up close and personal and we couldn’t quite grasp the scope of the canyon from the top. from that little taste, I knew I wanted more.

This year, we hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. We started on the North Kaibab trail, and hiked down into Phantom Ranch. We camped at the bottom, and then hiked up the Bright Angel trail to the south rim. We saw several of the creeks that fed into the Colorado river, and dipped our feet in them. We came within a few feet of a deer that was grazing. We saw lizards, a snake, and so many different types of bugs. The trees were gorgeous, and their ability to thrive in a desert ecosystem was awe-inspiring. 

If we had settled for visiting the rim, yes, we could say that we had been to the Grand Canyon. However, because I have...

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God-Breathed: Understanding the Power of the Bible to Equip and Transform

bible study guest post Jul 03, 2019

I love reading by Bible. But that hasn’t always been the case. When I was around 12, I confessed to my dad that I actually didn’t really like reading my Bible. This is not something a pastor’s kid, a regular church attender, a “good girl” should say.

But it was true.

I wanted to like reading my Bible, but I found it hard to understand, and there were often other things I would’ve rather been doing.

Let’s be honest, reading the Bible can be hard, and we don’t always like to, or want to. But we need to, because God’s Word is powerful. Through reading and studying the Bible, we come to know God more and are transformed into who He created us to be.

After graciously listening to me, my dad spoke a phrase that has stuck with me ever since: A divine interaction takes place when we read God’s Word.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed…”

In Genesis 2, we read of God creating man. Verse 7 says...

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A Prayer for When You Need a New Start

prayer Jul 01, 2019

I love it when the first day of the month is a Monday. Today is a Monday, the first day of the Quarter, and the exact halfway point for the year. It is like some sort of magical new beginning.

I love new beginnings. I get to restart where I may have messed up. I get to quit things that aren’t serving me well. I get new energy towards tasks I have let slide (hello, there huge stack of laundry).

But if we are being really honest, there is nothing special about a Monday. There is nothing special about the 1st of the month, or even the year. We can have a new beginning anytime we decide. If we are in Jesus, we have even more than simply a new beginning, we have new life!

Romans 8:11 says that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from death to life is at work in us, and if that isn’t some good news to start our week! Through Christ, we have new life.

If you have never asked Jesus for a new start but you want to, that is all you have to do. Ask Him. He delights in giving out...

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Journal Prompt: Count it All Joy

journal prompt Jun 29, 2019

The phrase from the Bible that comes to my mind the most often is from James 1:2, “count it all joy.”

I think I take it out of context more often than not, since James was writing to persecuted Christians, and my life is pretty easy here in the States. But it reminds me of where my focus is. Where my focus should be.

James says count it all joy, because all these trials we go through are making us more like Christ, and as Christ followers, that should be our goal. But the thing I notice most about this is that James doesn’t say “feel joy.” He says to count it as joy. We can feel upset about something, yet note that we are becoming more like Christ so it is ultimately good. We don’t have to manufacture fake feelings to count it all joy.

Spend 5-10 minutes journaling about what it looks like for you to count it all joy. There are no right answers, as this will look different for everyone.

Next time you are going through something hard,...

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A Prayer for Reading the Bible

bible study prayer Jun 24, 2019

Are you ever intimidated when reading the Bible? What if you have questions? What if you don’t understand it? I have asked myself these same questions before. The size alone of a Bible with the small print can be enough to make you hesitant to crack it open.

I got the chance to talk with Lisa Hensley the other day, and she said a something that really struck me about the Bible. She said, “truth is not challenged by questions.” I love how true that is about the Word of God. God is not threatened or offended when we have questions about His Word. He is not offended when we don’t understand something. Instead He offers that we come closer, that we look deeper into His Word and who He is.

One of the first verses I ever memorized was Psalm 119:11. It says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.” All of Psalm chapter 119 is about valuing God’s Word, and putting it to practice in our lives. I want that to be true...

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Make the Bible Personal

Here in Middle Georgia, everything is personalized with a monogram. Purses, cars, earrings, luggage, notebooks, cups, everything. You can even buy the machines that cut out the vinyl that personalize everything. We have taken it to a whole new level.

So how come, when we read God’s Word to us, we feel like it’s not personal? We feel like it isn’t relevant to our lives. But that isn’t the case. The Bible is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), and is relevant to our lives today!

So I challenge you today. Take out your journal, and write out Ephesians 3:14-21 and personalize it. Where it says “you” write your name. Write it like it were a prayer from Paul, specifically for you.

How would your life be different if you took the Bible as a Word for you? Would your life change? Would you read it more, and do what it says (James 1:22).

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How to Pick a Bible Translation

bible study how to Jun 19, 2019

I absolutely love shopping for books. It is one of my favorite pastimes. The smell of the books, the rows and rows of shelves combined with the hushed atmosphere is the best way to spend a Saturday morning. But there is something even more special to me about picking out a new Bible. I know it is the book I will spend the most time with over the next year, and I want to find one that is just right.

[Now at this point you could be thinking that I am obsessed with books. To that I say, you are not wrong.]

Bible translation plays a huge role in what Bible to get. If you get a translation you don’t understand easily, but the cover is pretty, you are probably less likely to read it. So that brings us to the first point.

GET A TRANSLATION YOU CAN UNDERSTAND.

If you can’t understand it, it’s not worth it. We are lucky that in English, we have so many different translations to choose from. They range on a scale from word for word translations, to a thought for...

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When God Answers Prayers

prayer story Jun 17, 2019

I didn’t realize tadpoles were going to be the answer to my prayers.

We were walking past a ditch on a road we had walked so many times before. Why I looked to see what might have been in the standing water, I am not sure. But today there was something there.

Tadpoles.

Just starting to sprout little legs, swimming through the water. There were too many to count! I had prayed that I would notice the little gifts God had placed throughout my day, and there they were. I didn’t want to miss out on something good He had planned for me, no matter how small.

I am not saying God always answers prayers with tadpoles. But I am saying that sometimes the answer to our prayers is unexpected.

I want to be able to hold my requests loosely before God, knowing that His plans are better than my plans. His schedule is better than mine, and His gifts for me are better than anything I could have dreamed up myself.

Father,

I am so glad that your ways are higher than my ways, and that...

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