Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Inductive Bible Study

So I was absolutely stoked when I saw that I had the chance to review this book.



Why?

Because I had been wanted to study more in-depth and I had always heard that the Inductive Bible Study Method was one of the best ways to study the bible.

Now here's the kicker, I had always been studying the bible (on a very basic level) in an inductive format. But after reading this book, which is actually a textbook, I learned just how much can go into studying the bible and how there is ALWAYS something to study and learn. You can never exhaust the bible.

This particular book examines studying the bible in an inductive format: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the perspective of History, Literature and Theology. Now what I gather this to mean is:
Observing the bible (passage, book, verse) by checking out its historical context (what prompts the author to write), literary context (how is it written, genres, literary devices are used), and understanding theology that everything flows together, nothing with contradict the other and it all points to Jesus. 
The same holds true for interpreting the bible. I love how the authors state that there is essentially one interpretation of any given verse BUT near unlimited ways that it may be applied in relation to individuals lives. 
Application is important. Nothing in the bible means anything if it is not applied. It is not to read about love than to act with love. It is not enough to read about doing the will of God BUT you must actually act upon it. James says it best: faith without works is dead. Faith can only do you so much good if your works do not echo what you profess to believe in.


So my reaction: one of the best reads EVER. This book and Searching the Scriptures by Charles Swindoll have been absolute game changers in how I study the bible.


Would I recommend? Yes, I recommend any and everyone that intends to study the bible, to get this book and read it, kind of use it as a guide on questions to ask yourself as you study. And it all starts with prayer.




{FYI: I did receive this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.}

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jesus Today

I got Jesus Today (teen version) as a book to review and this is one of those books I am quite conflicted about.



The conflict comes in because it is apart of the Jesus Calling series of devotional books by Sarah Young.

A lot of the criticism that comes for this series is the way that Sarah Young writes in the first person as if it is God speaking to the reader. In this book, the perspective of writing is the same. However I have noticed that there is scripture included to go with each day's selection. It's almost as if (in this book) that Sarah channels what she believes the Lord is speaking to us based on different passages of Scripture.

I can understand the argument against Sarah Young. Yet after reading the devotions (not the entire book but many of the devotions) I can understand where she is coming from. Many preachers of today speak to us in a similar tone of voice, helping us to grasp the way God loves us and wants fellowship with us. Oftentimes we get so caught up in judging a person that we do not take the time to review a message along with the scripture attached to it. And realize she's not trying to actually mimic God but trying to help a hurting people see Jesus as we should see Him. Jesus wants relationship, God wants relationship. They want us to see the Bible a handwritten note from Him to us.

My honest opinion: I don't see the harm in this book. Why? Because I can see that Sarah Young is attempting to bridge the gap between what the bible says and how we can literally apply it to our thought pattern and our lives. In how we think and act in reflection of the bible. I will say it is more appropriate for both adults and teenagers.



{FYI: this is my honest opinion. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion).

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Studying in 2017

So this year, one thing I have chosen to do is to spend more time in the bible and more time studying God's Word.

I once read that how can you be completely obedient if you don't know what you're obeying. I know the bible yet there's always more to learn about God. I want to be so transparent in my relationship with God that I share my heart with Him before I share with any human.

So I am taking the liberty to utilize a couple books in my study time. Inductive Bible Study by Richard Alan Fuhr Jr and Andreas J. Kostenberger and Searching the Scriptures by Charles Swindoll.   Both of these books are phenomenal in aiding in actually studying the Bible but even more than that APPLYING the Word of God. Both of these books approach studying the bible in a similar yet different fashion. And both have drawn me in towards filling myself on the meat of the Word. I realize that so often I've been stuck on the milk of the Word and I want more out of it thus I must take my studying deeper, beyond the surface. Digging into word studies so that I can understand what the original languages intent behind words are. Because something I've learned is that often how we mean a world today in 2017 is not the same as how that word was meant in biblical days.





One thing I've learned from both is to always employ more than one Bible translation when studying. So I've compiled  about 4-5 different translations to use in my study, with two of them being study bibles.

I think that as I learn more about who God is, the more I can know Him and see Him at work each day. Chime in your study habits.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas

Christmas is here.

And honestly, I'm just quite ready for it to be over, ya know?

Usually I am super excited for Christmas but this year not so much. Maybe its due to the fact that financially we are not in the best place and thus we can' "do" as much for Christmas this. 

But I need to get into the Christmas mood and cheer if for no other reason than to celebrate Jesus with my family. 

So far, I've added some Christmas music into my usual playlist. Carol of the Bells, anyone?

I've got cookies and sprinkles for the kids to bake tomorrow evening. That's one thing I always make sure to do, baking with the kids and let them decorate their own cookies. It' our own family tradition.

What are some of your ideas and family Christmas traditions?


Monday, December 5, 2016

'I AM' Bible



If you know anything about me, I'm not a big fan of the KJV. I didn't start liking the NKJV until I got the Duck Commander Bible and the beauty of that bible makes it where I am more interested in the NKJV. However when I read the description for the I AM Bible I decided to give the KJV another try, see if I could like it.

The goal of this bible is to put in bold print the words spoken by God. And Jesus' words are red-lettered. I have the hardcover, so its nice and sturdy. It has lay flat binding, which is beyond awesome for study purposes. There are little explanation boxes corresponding with God and Jesus speaking to tell the reader who God/Jesus is specifically speaking to. Other than that, there are no other footnotes or comments. The print is fairly small, I do need my glasses to read it clearly. Yet it is not as small as the font in my Life Application Study Bible, so that is good. There is a topical index, glossary/dictionary, and concordance on top of the usual 8 maps detailing places of the bible both OT and NT.



 The boxes in the middle are the boxes which kind of aid the reader in understanding why and who Jesus was speaking to.
  Same here with the references to God's Words in Hebrews.
And again here in the OT.


I like the aesthetics of this bible. My only quip is how the KJV breaks down words, almost into syllables which used to be irritating to read but I guess now that I am older, I can appreciate to a degree for those names of people and places that I would otherwise need help learning the correct pronunciation of. I am glad that I got the opportunity to take a fresh look at the KJV and gain a new appreciation for it.


{FYI: I did receive my copy of this bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.}

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Earth Psalms

Earth Psalms is a collection of devotions paired with beautiful photographs of nature. The devotions are meant to spark reflection and application. There are 52 devotions for weekly reading. This devotional is a collaboration between Francine Rivers and Karin Buursma. Francine knew she wanted to write a devotional with added photos of nature so we can see the beauty and work of God in the nature around us but she wanted the devotional to have a bit more depth so that's where Karin Buursma comes in at adding in the hymns, quotes, reflections, and applications throughout the devotional. 

The book is very well put together with hardback and nice thick pages with full vibrant color photos. Each devotion is themed with a color as can be seen below the second devotions pages all have deep teal color coordination. Don't get me wrong this is a beautiful devotional and is very good on content but also because of its beauty it can be put on a coffee table of sorts to spark interest and conversation with visitors. Because they'll see the beautiful photos then possibly read the devotional or at least skim the devotional that goes with the photos. 

I think this would make a great gift for the believer, new or old, who enjoys nature.







{FYI: I received this book from the publisher, Tyndale, in exchange for my HONEST review.}

Monday, November 28, 2016

Think You're Ready?

Marriage, that one thing that young girls dream about...no wait that's a wedding not the marriage.

Marriage is that thing that tends to follow us after we are adults. You know, auntie that always ask at every family gathering when you're getting married. 
Then the holidays roll around and you start seeing your friends get engaged.

And some yearn for it. They actively chase the ring. But what are you really chasing?

Are you chasing the dream or the reality? 

Don't chase the ring or the status because what happens at the wedding will last longer than the infatuation with the ring and status. It is bigger than the decor of the wedding. It is more sacred than the moment he proposes. 

Because the ring is only the beginning. And no you haven't arrived once you've obtained it, you just started down a new road with a new companion and you have to somehow mesh together.

And the moment you lose sight of this is the moment you start to let down your significant other and the marriage.

Well here's a few things to realize during "engagement season" (as one of my wedding planner friends say):

1. A wedding is only the beginning.
2. Prepare now before the engagement for success in the marriage
3. Be more concerned with the actual marriage then the wedding. 
4. Do not covet what you see in other couples. You have no clue what goes on behind closed doors.
5. Invite God IN and kick everyone else OUT (marriage/relationship wise). {Gen 2:24}
6. If you're single, enjoy being single. Enjoy having time to focus solely on God and yourself.
7. Don't force it. Do not put pressure on a guy to propose because that is what everyone else is doing. This not to say that you settle for being a GF for years on end, not an option either, but if you know y'all are still in the building process, be patient. 
8. Don't settle. Don't settle for someone's excuses as to why they cannot marry you if you're supposed to be "the one." Especially those who ask for married benefits without marriage. Money is not an excuse. Education is not an excuse. There is a such thing as building from nothing together. While there are some people who will literally wait until they feel everything is in place, sometimes you will lose out on a good person doing so.
9. The two become one. Remember that as you seek to have separate finances or try to separate other areas of your lives. Becoming one is a process it will not happen overnight.

And KEEP YOUR LEGS CLOSED. No marriage, no sex. PERIOD. 
Don't open yourself up to soul ties and emotional hurt and disappointment and more importantly disobedience to God for temporary pleasure.

Check out Proverbs 31:10-31; Proverbs 21:9; Ephesians 5:33


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We're in Texas

These are our older two children. They started public school here in Austin, Texas about 2 weeks ago. We've been in Texas for nearly 3 weeks now. 
Thus far I love it. We have perfect fall/winter weather. 
Cool enough for some chili and soup but not so cold that I can see my breath. 

Its a big enough change for us as they have been homeschooled. But they are adjusting well and enjoying both school and their new friends.

These are their first day of school photos :)



Friday, November 18, 2016

Offering my Services



As you can see I am now located in Austin, Texas. 
I am willing to offer my services regardless of location. However if I am needed to make office visits, then the location distance at maximum is 50 miles.

Consultations are $50 unless services are retained then the Consultation is FREE.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Devotions for a Deeper Life

A deeper life?
What exactly does that mean? Deeper in what aspect?

Well for the devotional I picked up by Oswald Chambers, deeper is spiritually deeper.
And considering the world and everything going on, can't we all go a little spiritually deeper, a little more intimate with God?
I raise my hand yes we do (at least I do).


Oswald Chambers helps us get there with this devotional. Each one starts with a passage, nothing too cheesy but enough to provoke thought. To cause me to stop and really ponder what I am reading. And then the full context of the main verse is given so that we can study further, study deeper on that day's topic. 
The book itself is nice sized not too big, its adequately sized to throw in a bag to read while commuting (train/bus/plane) or even to just take along to work to read while on break. There's also a bookmark ribbon to mark where you left off. Plus it is dated so no matter what just go to today's date and jump right in. 

Before I was really adhering to using my Jesus Calling devotional but after coming across this one, I've become a tad bit more interested in this one because it is clear that the speaker is not Jesus but is inspired by God.