Why Reading Isn’t Enough ~ Study the Bible

As work-in-progress Christians, we have several tools at our disposal to help us grow closer to God and bear more fruit.

The one tool we often fail to use to its full potential is the Bible!

Some of you may be thinking that you use your Bibles daily or even weekly, so why would I say the Bible is under-utilized?

I say the Bible is under-utilized because I’ve experienced that in my own life as a young Christian.

At the age of fourteen, I moved with my family to a third-world country so that my parents could do missionary work. As you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy move for a teenager, especially considering that I lived away from my parents during the school year.

At that age, I often read the Bible because I knew I was supposed to, but I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it.

Bible reading simply became an item to check off on my to-do list.

However, after the move overseas, though, I really struggled with being separated from my parents and adjusting to a new life in a foreign country. I felt alone and uncertain. In my teenage awkwardness, I lacked confidence in myself and in my faith.

I wrestled with some deep, unanswered questions – like why? Why was God allowing this hardship in my life?

I began to turn to my Bible for comfort and understanding rather than just as a daily chore. My mom would send me verses that spoke to my circumstances, and I would read them over and over again.

Instead of just reading the Word and then walking away from it, I began to actually study the Bible.

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I began to read with questions, meditate on verses that stuck out to me, write notes and look up cross-references. The more time I spent studying, the more I realized the very real power of God’s Word to transform me, to comfort me, to give me wisdom for real life!

During that time of hardship, my faith became real to me because instead of simply believing what others had told me about God and His Word, I discovered those truths for myself.

My new appreciation for God’s Word led to a period of tremendous spiritual growth that formed the foundation of the faith I have today.

When I look back over my life, I see how the times I felt most connected to the Lord were also times when I really dug into His Word.

Likewise, the seasons when I struggled the most in my faith were often marked by a reluctance to study the Bible or perhaps even a busyness that kept me preoccupied with little time to really dig in.

Consider these verses from Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You. (NIV)

When you study the Bible, you don’t just gain knowledge about God’s characters or how to make wise choices. According to this Psalm, studying the Bible actually helps to keep us from sin!

I have to admit, taking time to study the Bible is still a work-in-progress in me – an area that can use constant improvement.

I wonder if you might be able to relate, friend?

Maybe you’re a work-in-progress woman who isn’t getting much from the Bible lately. Maybe you find it hard to understand or just wish that you knew the Bible better. I’ve been there, friend!

Or maybe you’re really struggling in your faith right now, feeling distant from the Lord, and you’re not even trying to study the Bible? I’ve been there, too.

What I can tell you is that the more you invest your time and energy into studying the Word rather than just reading it out of a sense of duty, the more you’ll experience the abundant Christian life that God has planned for you. 

Matthew 4:4 claims that the Word of God gives life itself – it sustains us!

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

That sounds like a good reason to study the Bible!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Christ

My friend, Arabah Joy, has created a spectacular course to help people around the world learn to study God’s Word for themselves – it’s called Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. (Disclosure – this is my affiliate link. Should you choose to purchase through this link, I will receive a commission. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of Being Confident of This!)

This practical, self-paced course comes with a printable workbook and teaching videos to show you exactly how to use the various methods being taught so that those of us who are visual learners or who need a little hand-holding can actually see how the methods work!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Chirst
You can expect this course to:

  • teach you 7 different Bible study methods
  • streamline the learning process so you don’t spend weeks or months figuring it out
  • give you tools for going deep into God’s word in as little as ten minutes a day (perfect for busy moms!)
  • provide ready-made templates and printables you can choose from
  • show you exactly how to do each method with the daily videos
  • revolutionize your time in God’s word and discover fresh intimacy with God in the process.
  • equip you to nourish yourself with the Scriptures
  • teach you how to develop your spiritual senses
  • help you establish a Bible study habit!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Chirst

I’m very picky about the resources I recommend to my readers because I value your trust, but I’m happy to recommend this one because I know Arabah Joy has spent years refining these methods as a missionary overseas and now a writer at arabahjoy.com. Since I’ve known her for several years, I also know her motives are genuine – to help children of God grow in their faith so that they can live out their God-given purpose in this world!

This week only (through the 26th), Arabah Joy is offering a BONUS to all who purchase the course – a 6 week study plan for the Book of Ephesians using the 7 Methods we’ll be learning in the course to study the Bible.

In addition, for this week only, I’m offering a special BONUS to my readers, and I have to say that I’m really excited about this one (it even made my husband cry!).

Anyone who purchases the course through my affiliate link will receive a beautiful 5-day devotional that focuses on the cross and the resurrection.

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Chirst

With Easter just around the corner, this printable devotional will remind you just how important the cross is, not only for salvation, but for daily living, too!

Friend, whether you decide to purchase this course or not, I pray you will seek to study the Word for yourself. I firmly believe that if more Christians better utilized the living Word of God, we would all have the confidence we need to live out the plans God has for us.

Bottom line: don’t just read your Bible, really dig into it.

Study the Bible for yourself!

All because of Christ,

Jen :)

Why Tomorrow Could Be Too Late ~ Death and Jesus

You think it won’t happen to you, at least not yet. Death.

But it happened to a friend of mine just last night; a fellow blogger and most of her family passed from this life to the next as their home burned around them.

You think you have plenty of time.

As I prepared my children for bed this evening, we read a chapter from one of our Trailblazer books about the Salvation Army. This particular story happens to be about two orphans who sought refuge from the faith-based group.

And I thought of my friend Mandy’s surviving children, how they would be going to bed this evening for the first time without any parents. My heart broke for them all over again.

Without thinking about whether it was a good time or not, I told my kiddos about my friend’s tragic death right then and there. We talked about and prayed for the surviving children who I am sure feel left behind. My daughter even asked if we could adopt them, which brought a small smile to my face.

We talked about Jesus and how happy I was to know my friend and her family were now in Heaven even though I’m shocked and saddened to realize she will no longer live in this world.

Her death is the most recent in a string of deaths that have occurred in our lives this year.

And I keep thinking, all day long, we just don’t know how much time we have left.

I’m thinking of a man who sat in front of my church-planting husband and I last week, a man who heard the gospel clearly explained, a man who told us he knew he was headed for Hell. But when we asked if he was ready to accept Christ as his Savior, he responded with an honest, “No.”

He’s not ready. He thinks he has more time.

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I’m thinking of another man who recently passed away, a man who was laying in a hospital bed, a man who would never return to his earthly home. This man, this father, he too heard the gospel message, but this man said “yes” to God. And I’m confident that he now resides in Heaven.

I’m remembering a woman we spoke with a over a year ago now who has attended church her entire life, but when asked if she knew she was going to Heaven, her best answer was, “I hope so.”

I’m thinking that lost people are all around us here and wondering what are we really doing, I mean really doing, to make sure they have that same opportunity to know Jesus Christ?

What have I done here in this space to make sure you have that opportunity, too?

You think you have plenty of time…. until you don’t.

Life is fragile and temporary, but a vapor in the wind (James 4:14).

So in light of my friend’s unexpected passing, I’m appreciating my spouse more, and I’m holding my children tighter and telling them how much I love them.

But, friend, there are things in this world that matter even more than love for family and friends, things that matter beyond this life and for eternity.

So all day long I;ve had this burden to tell you what you need to hear most in the world.

God loves you and it’s His greatest desire to have a relationship with you. He created you for a purpose.

But sin creates a gap that we cannot overcome on our own.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

We like to think of sin as the really bad things – like murder and rape and theft, etc. But sin is anytime we choose our way over God’s way. It’s missing the mark of perfection, and I don’t know about you, but I know for certain I am not perfect.

According to the first part of Romans 6:23, the consequence of our sin is death, separation from God both here on earth and for all of eternity.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

The Good News, also called the gospel, is that God desires relationship with us so much that He made a plan for our redemption. He provided a substitute who would pay the price of death for our sin – His one and only son, Jesus Christ, who bled red on the old rugged cross so that we might live!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

Not only that, but Jesus didn’t stay dead. No! He rose again, proving his power over death and His ability to keep the promise of new life (1 Cor. 15:1-8).

Here’s the part some of us fail to understand – we cannot earn salvation on our own. We cannot make ourselves acceptable to God. As a pastor’s wife, I’ve seen many who falsely believe that they need to clean their acts up first and then come to Christ.

That’s putting the cart before the horse, friend, for two reasons.

First, we can never be “good” enough or righteous enough to please God on our own.

Second, we need Jesus to help us make changes in our lives. It’s only by allowing Christ to work in and through us that we can be the people we need to be, the people we were created to be from the beginning of time.

Are there broken areas in your life?

Do you struggle to overcome addiction?

Do you seek help to forgive others and heal from old wounds?

Do you wish for whole and healthy relationships?

Do you feel like a failure who can’t seem to do anything right?

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Christ alone is the answer to those struggles. He alone has the power to transform us from the inside out!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor. 5:17

But that power is only for those who accept Him. Accepting Christ means acknowledging your own sin problem, and recognizing and believing in Jesus as the only solution.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Rom. 10:9-10

The Bible is clear that salvation is as simple as a choice to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to reconcile yourself with God and to ask for forgiveness. There are no magic prayers to pray, no special words – just a confession that you are a sinner in need of saving, and that you believe Jesus alone can save you.

Let me offer another word of caution. Many people falsely believe that they have faith in God when what they really have is just a belief that there is a God. The two are not one and the same.

According to God’s Word, even the demons believe that God exists, and they recognize that Jesus is the Son of God. Yet we know they will not receive eternal life in Heaven. Instead, they will remain separated from God and destined for Hell.

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Mt. 7:21

Real faith in God is characterized by a belief that you are a helpless sinner, and a personal trust in Jesus’s work on the cross as a payment for your sin. Real faith humbly submits to Jesus, the son of God.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6

If you are a visual learner, then please watch this video for a clear explanation!

The truth is that none of us are guaranteed even another hour, and this is one decision you cannot afford to put off.

I’m asking you, friend, do you know Christ?

If you’ve never put your faith in Christ as your Savior, would you do so today? I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have – email me at jstults@beingconfidentofthis.com .

If you’ve already taken that step to trust Christ, are you living out His plan for your life? Are you telling others of the Good News?

Because the truth is that it could happen to you; in fact, someday it will happen to you.

Use your time wisely, friends.

Live a life that matters.

Jen

For more on this subject, please visit these trusted sources:

How to Begin a Relationship With God

How Do I Become a Christian?

Who Is God and What Does He Have to Do with Me?

 

 

 

Christ-centered Easter: Resources for the Whole Family

With all of the excitement over the Easter bunny or Easter eggs, it’s all too easy for kids to get distracted from the real reason why we celebrate Easter – Jesus! Over the years, my husband and I have tried quite a few different ways to have a Christ-centered Easter that highlights the gospel message.

What better gift could we give our family than a better understanding of what Easter is truly about?

Here are a few of the resources we love for maintaining a Christ-centered Easter:

*This post makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please visit the Being Confident of This about page. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this site!

1. The Lamb by John Cross

This beautifully illustrated book works as a year-round resource, but we’ve found that its gospel message is especially poignant for both children and adults during the Lent and Easter season. The Lamb is a chronological, creation-to-Christ approach to the Bible that helps readers understand the significance of the Passover Lamb and why Jesus’ death on the cross was necessary.

The gospel message is central to the book, so we like to start it well before Easter and read a chapter a week! You could also read a chapter a day leading up to Easter Sunday. This year, we are even using it as our Children’s Church curriculum since each chapter contains discussion questions at the end. If you can’t tell by now, I really love this book. Aside from the Bible, you really can’t find a better Christ-centered Easter resource. :)

Make the most of Easter with these Christ-centered Easter resources! Use devotionals, activities, books, movies, etc. to point your family to Jesus.  keep Christ in Easter, Easter and Jesus, Christian Easter resources, Christian family

 

2. Resurrection Eggs

I actually discovered this delightful way of telling the Easter story via pinterest several years ago, and it has since become a yearly tradition that our four children look forward to. With my background in education, I really appreciate the interactive teaching method that gets the kids involved in discovering the story for themselves. And for our special needs guy, being able to touch the symbolic objects helps the lesson to sink in even deeper. For those reasons, Resurrection Eggs are probably my second favorite Christ-centered Easter resource.

We’ve also used these eggs as part of our church’s Easter egg hunt. We hide them with the regular eggs, then use them to teach the Gospel by having the children who found them bring them up one at a time. It’s a really fun way to keep kids engaged.

And the best part is that if the budget is tight, you can actually make them yourself! Find examples here on my Christ-centered Easter pinterest board.

 

3. The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story by Mike Berenstain

Because we love the Berenstain Bears, we bought this book a few years ago on sale. I was happy to see how the book addressed the commercialism of Easter in a way that children can easily understand. This is another solid addition to our Christ-centered Easter library!

4. Veggietales: An Easter Carol

Another favorite in our home is any and all things having to do with Veggietales! We love the funny voices, quirky characters, and silly storylines, but most of all we love how these veggies teach us biblical truth. Pick up this dvd to add to your Christ-centered Easter resources, and your children will learn once again that Easter is about so much more than bunnies.

And if you love Veggietales as much as you do, you might also want to check out ‘Twas the Night Before Easter.

5. Praying the Promises of the Cross

As much as I love the family-oriented Easter books and movies listed above, many parents long for a little more meat to dig into when it comes to having a Christ-centered Easter.  If that’s you, then you’ll want to consider this downloadable, printable resource – a 40-day journey of praying God’s promises that is specifically targeted to point you to the cross.  This is the perfect devotional to lead up to Easter Sunday.

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Each day includes a brief devotional to read, as well as a scripture to read, write, and pray over. You can write your prayer right in the journal space provided. What better way to prepare your heart for Easter than to spend time in the Word and in prayer? :)

6. Easter Scavenger Hunt

Want your Easter to be more Christ-centered? Check out this list of top Christ-centered Easter resources for the whole family!  keep Christ in Easter, Easter and Jesus, Christian Easter resources, Christian family

My friend Arabah Joy has spent many years creating discipleship resources for all ages, and this is one that she shares for free over at her blog. This photo-scavenger hunt combines scripture with the fun of searching for objects both indoors and outdoors. It’s a unique resource for helping children to actively discover the power of the Easter story for themselves.

Just follow this link over to Arabah Joy’s place to print out a copy for each child and you are ready to go.

This stress-free, Christ-centered Easter resource is a quick and simple way for parents to remind their children of what really matters this Easter!

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Make the most of Easter by teaching your family more about Jesus Christ this year!

Jen :)

Check out this great list for more ideas on how to celebrate Easter with your family!

 

How to Have Life-changing Faith

Very few of us will have a book written or a movie made about our lives. Most of us will go from day to day living out a normal (whatever that means) life with its undulating highs and lows. The vast majority of us will never have even as much as a one-column newspaper article written about the space between our birth and our death.

So, why should we be too jacked up over our legacy?

I believe the answer lies between Hebrews 10 and Hebrews 12. In Hebrews chapter 11 we find what most Christians know as God’s Hall of Faith. A beautiful recounting of the lives of God’s servants beginning with Abel and ending with nameless individuals whose acts of faith were worthy of mention in Scripture.

Check out a few:

Abel offered a sacrifice that pleased God’s heart. (11:4)

Enoch pleased God and was raptured. (11:5)

Noah acted in faith when God told him about the coming flood. (11:7)

Abraham, whew, Abraham just flat out left home and family and set out to only-God-knew-where on faith. Abe also set the bar high for obedience when he was willing to sacrifice Isaac, just because God said so. (Try that one on for size!) (11:8-12, 17-19)

Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Israelites, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and so many others acted in faith and believed that God was who He said He was and that He was able to do what He said He would do.

Heart-pounding, life-changing faith.

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The thing about all of the folks named in Hebrews 11 is that they were just ordinary people going about their ordinary lives doing ordinary things when God said, “Hey you!”

These people were not stained-glass saints when God called them. For heaven’s sake, Rahab was a prostitute, Moses was a murderer, and Gideon was a wimp. These were people, exactly like you and me, who had a heart set on obedience to God. They were willing to trust that God knew what He was doing and had a plan that was for their good, even when it was crazy-scary.

Heart-pounding, life-changing faith.

It is what God calls us to when we decide to set Jesus up as Lord and Savior over our lives. Jesus said that all we need is faith as tiny as a mustard seed in order to do the impossible (Matthew 17:20). Do you know how small a mustard seed is? It is teeny tiny, yet that is all the faith we need….just enough to say ‘yes’ to whatever God is calling us to, then He will add to our faith so we can do the thing in obedience.

Heart-pounding, life-changing, legacy-building FAITH.

Faith that just might one day have our portrait hanging on the walls of heaven.

Faith that might encourage someone else to use their mustard seed.

Faith that pleases the God of heaven immensely.

Faith that leaves a legacy for those who come behind us.

Where is God asking you to use your mustard seed of faith today? Share about it in the comments. I would love to pray for you.

Speaker, Author, Mentor. Bible teacher. Jesus-follower. Wife. Mom. Friend. Daughter of the King.  Leah Adams writes at leahadams.org to point others to Jesus. You can also connect with her on social media: Facebook (Leah Adams), Twitter (LeahCAdams), Instagram (leahadams64), and Pinterest (leahcadams).

*Being Confident of This makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please see the about page. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this site!

Enter below for a chance to win a free copy of Legacy!

Leah is generously offering the readers of Being Confident of This a chance to win a free copy of her newly released Bible study, Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind. Woohoo!

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Let me tell you why I’m excited about this study. First, I have known Leah for several years now and have witnessed her passion for reaching women for Jesus, particularly through sound teaching and lots of grace! Second, I worked closely with Leah on the design of Legacy, so I’m very familiar with the material contained within these pages – it’s meaty, grounded in scripture, and exactly the message we need to be spreading in the world today!

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