5 Principles That Will Revolutionize the Way you Read the Bible

Bible literacy is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart (which you may have already picked up on if you hang around here a bit).

I talk a whole lot about what Bible literacy is, why it’s so important, and how we can get there in my book, His Word Alone:  A call to put down your Bible studies and pick up your Bible.  If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, pick one up!  And once you do, let me know what you think. I would honestly love to hear from you!

It is my fervent desire that all Christians would come to know and love God’s Word.  The reason I am so passionate about the serious, intentional, and individual study of the Bible by Christians is because His Word is the very means through which the Lord has claimed my heart and transformed my life.

His Word has met me right where I was at the time, no matter where or when.  His Word has relentlessly pursued me through the hard work of marriage, the endless delights and difficulties of raising small children, every insecurity and uncertainty a thirty-something-stay-at-home-mom could muster, and all the other ups, downs, ins, and outs of everyday life.  There is no pain to which God’s Word does not speak, no joy that it does not birth.

And perhaps the most beautiful thing of all these is this:  When we commit ourselves to the reading and studying of His Word, God Himself meets us there.  I know this to be true.

But I also understand that setting out to study the Bible on your own can be intimidating.

So, I’m here to help.

In my last post, I gave some tips on how to begin reading and understanding the Bible, including 5 questions you can use to guide yourself through any book, chapter, or segment of Scripture.  In today’s post, I’m going to tell you 5 things I wish I had known about the Bible before I even began studying it.  These 5 principles will change the way you approach Bible study by widening your viewpoint of God’s Word and correctly orienting you to it.  So let’s get to it. Click on the image below the read the rest of the post!

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My Must Read Books for the Christmas Season

It’s here! It’s finally, actually, truly here. The most wonderful time of the year. Yes, friends, December, with all its festivities, is upon us. The decorations, the lights, the parties, the songs, the gifts, the candle light services. All the wonderful happenings of Christmas start NOW.

I have loved this season down to the very tips of my toes for as long as I can remember. Even before I became a Christian in my twenties I carried a deep affection for this time of year. I remember how, as a young girl, I would just sit and endlessly stare at the lit tree my mother decorated each year. Although I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the time, there seemed to be something truly magical about the season of Christmas.
Now that I know and love the One of whom this holiday speaks, this long-held affection for the Christmas season goes far beyond the sentimentality and nostalgia I once knew, and points my soul to the most significant truths of my life. That in His very great love for us, God came down and made Himself known to us. Yes, the very One to whom all creation bows wrapped Himself in flesh and bone in pursuit of fallen humanity. In this way, Christmas serves as the apex of the greatest love story this world will ever know.
So how much more so should I love this season now that all the trappings of Christmas carry a weight and significance that I couldn’t even have fathomed before I came to know Christ? And while I know just how beautiful all these truths are, I must make a Christmastime confession: Even knowing all this, my mind (and heart) still wanders during this time of year. And because of all the EVERYTHING to do, it might well be that my attention wanders away from Christ even more than usual during the month of December. Which is exactly the opposite of what I want to happen during this sacred time of year.
So because I know this happens, because I know too well my propensity to allow the busy-ness of the season to overshadow the true “reason for the season,” I have begun setting things in place to help me focus in on Christ during this time of year. And because I love to read, it’s no surprise that books play a major role in this intentional focusing in on Christ during the Christmas season.
Click on the image below to hop on over to RockThis.org where I’ve compiled a list of some of my (and my kids’) favorite reads for the Christmas season.

How to Start Reading and Understanding the Bible {with 5 questions to help get you going}

For many years after becoming a Christian the greatest struggle I faced in my Christian walk was reading the Bible consistently. I knew I needed to read the Bible on my own. After all, the Bible served as the foundation for the very faith I now confessed. It made sense that I should acquaint myself with what it said.

And believe me, I tried to read it.  (And failed.)

And I tried some more.  (And failed again.)

It seemed to me that no matter how much I read the Bible, I simply couldn’t understand it. Now I’m a tried-and-true, bonafide, genuine, real-deal, type-A perfectionist.  There’s nothing I hate more than failing. So after several go-rounds of this trying and failing, of all this reading yet not understanding, I simply became disheartened. I threw up my hands and threw in the Bible-reading towel.

So there I was: a Christian who didn’t (couldn’t? wouldn’t?) read the Bible.

While I had no clue how I was supposed to read, study, and understand the Bible, at the same time, I was becoming increasingly aware of just how necessary Bible literacy was for a Christ-following Christian. This discrepancy sparked within me a crisis of conscious.  It caused me to seriously consider the authenticity of my beliefs.  Could I still confess to being a Christian while shirking my responsibility to dig into the Bible and read?  Click HERE to continue reading…

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In other news, a few weeks ago we created a Facebook page for RockThis.org!  The Rock This Revival Facebook page exists to provide a source of community as you begin thriving in the mundane of life. If you’re excited about growing in your faith, improving your health, are craving a place of support to share your triumphs and sorrows, get more organized, follow God-sized dreams, and make authentic friendships then you will love the group! We’d LOVE for you to join us! Click here and you’ll find a box at the bottom of the page that says “Join the Facebook page”. Enter your email and a link for the page will be sent for you to join. Once you’re in, let us know you’re there so we can give you a big welcome!

Book Release! And a Conference!

So, this has happened…

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And I really couldn’t be any happier about it.  I love this book.  Yes, I know I wrote it and so that makes me maybe just a wee bit biased, but hear me out.  This book addresses an issue that I know many of you struggle with.  I know this because I have talked with many of you about it.  I know this because it is an issue I struggled so mightily with myself.  For years I studied books written about the Bible instead of studying the actual Bible.  For years I listened and read and thought about what others said about the God of the Bible instead of entering into the Bible to meet Him there myself.  For years I used Bible studies as my only Bible study instead of venturing into the pages of Scripture myself.  And when it finally occurred to me that I was studying around the Bible but not really studying the Bible, I decided it was time to put down my Bible studies and pick up my Bible.  That endeavor has not disappointed.  The Bible is the very means through which God has claimed my heart and transformed my life and that is why I am so passionate about women learning to navigate the pages of Scripture for themselves.   My heartfelt prayer is that the Lord would use this book to bring anyone who has struggled to know Him in and through His Word to met Him there.

Pick up a copy for yourself HERE!  And if you do, drop me a line and tell me what you think.    Seriously, I want to hear from you.  I’m no big time blogger and I still recognize most of the names/email addresses that subscribe to this blog.  I truly and honestly want to know what you think!  Tell me!  And because I’m no big time blogger, I need your help in spreading the word.  Share the book, the link, this blog with those who might be interested!

And as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one post, there’s this…

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That’s right, I’ll be teaching a couple of sessions alongside a few other AMAZING teachers and speakers in Nashville at the end of the month.  If you’re in the area, I’d love for you to come out.  You can buy tickets HERE.  If you’re not in the area, we’ll be live streaming so you can get to us that way as well.  Find more info on that HERE.  We’ve done absolutely everything possible to make this available to you, so join us!

Ok, I think that may be about all the HERE’s you can handle for one night so I’ll sign off for now.

I’m grateful for you ladies!

In His Name,

Summer

 

White Christians & Black Lives: How can we do better?

God’s Word addresses the hard things.  It goes with us into the difficult places.  It leads, guides and carries us to what is good and right.  When we don’t know what to do, or say, or how to even begin making things better, His word has an answer.  So what does God’s word instruct us regarding issues of racial tension and social justice?  Read my latest post over at rockthis HERE.

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Stay connected!  Make sure to check out the rest of the Tribe at rockthis.org today!  Connect with earlymorningmama on Facebook by liking my page HERE.

5 Ways To Hear God Speak (to you)

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them… Genesis 1:27-28 (emphasis mine)

Since the very beginning, God’s blessing of us has been made manifest through His speaking to us.  Mankind was only moments out of the dust of the Earth when our creator began establishing the nature of our relationship with Him.  He would relate to us, seek relationship with us, guide us, direct us and care for us, through speaking to us. But how often do we neglect this reality?  How often do we fail to listen or respond to this God who speaks? Do we even believe that He speaks to us at all?

I’m over at rockthis.org today with a post on hearing God speak.  Click on the image below to join me there!

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Get more content from Early Morning Mama on Facebook HERE.  Join up with a whole Tribe of Christ-following women at rockthis.org!

What’s the Word Wednesday: Far More Abundantly

4:30am.  I make my way out of bed, downstairs to the coffee maker, and then to my desk.  I’ve got all these words I feel the Lord prompting me to say, and so few hours to sit and write them.  When my boys come lumbering down those stairs, their eyes sleepy and their hair wild, my attention turns to them, but at 4:30am I write.  I write and I wait for the rest of the world to wake, and for their keyboards and smartphones to carry them to these words.  I write and I wait and I wonder, “God, what will you do with them?  What will you do with these words?”  And by 5:36am, I’m tired and hopeful and just a little bit scared that maybe these dreams that He’s put in my heart are actually coming to be.

But God gives no hope that the enemy doesn’t try to taint with fear.

“But will I be enough?  Will I prove able?” And over and above all my many words, all my numerous thoughts, fears, doubts and delusions, His words hit heavy on my heart and it’s always His promises that bring me back strong…

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory… Ephesians 3:20-21

Can you hear those words whispering straight at you from the other side of this computer screen?  Far more abundantly.  Yes, He is far more abundant than I could have ever asked or even thought to imagine.  And because He is so far beyond and abundantly more, I don’t have to be even one more bit than I am.  His abundance compensates for my lack every time.

Memorize Ephesians 3:20 with me this morning and then go out and do what God has set before you.  Not because you can, but because He is.

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What’s the Word Wednesday: No Great Burden

One of the very first things I remember learning about Jesus is that his yoke was easy and his burden was light.  And although those well known verses from Matthew 11 ring of ease and simplicity, I had absolutely no idea what they meant when I first starting following Christ and pursuing his word.

“28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

I knew I fit the category of people who Jesus was calling:  burdened, restlessly laboring, and laden with weights and baggage of all shapes and sizes.  I also knew that I was in desperate need of the type of soul-rest that Jesus was offering.  So this verse had to be talking directly to me.  But verse 30 is where I always drew a blank.  What was the easy yoke and light burden of which Jesus spoke?  What did that even mean anyway?

One of the things I love most about studying the Bible is how one verse can all of a sudden and seemingly out of nowhere illuminate your understanding of another verse all the way on the other side of the Bible.  As I shared last week, I’ve been steeping myself in the truth of Isaiah 43 these last few weeks, coming back to it again and again.  This week it was verse  10 that took hold of me…“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord“and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.

And there is was – that light burden and easy yoke that Jesus would speak of thousands of years later.  Those two verses came together in a crash course collision that had been divinely planned since the beginning of time.  God makes no stringent demands of us.  He is not heavy-handed in what he requires, no his yoke is easy and burden is light.  He asks only that we would know him, believe him and position ourselves to grow in an ever-increasing understanding him.  God wants nothing more and nothing less than our hearts.  I don’t know about you, but after all that he has accomplished for me, that’s a burden I will gratefully bear.

Connect with early morning mama on Facebook HERE for even more content.

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What’s the Word Wednesday: The Easy Way Out

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you may have noticed I’ve been posting Scripture Memory verses every Wednesday.  These posts have gotten a great response and fall in line with my heart and goal as a teacher:  To equip and encourage women to dig into God’s Word with their very own hands.  From now on, I’ll be sharing these shorter posts that center around memorizing a verse of Scripture here on the blog as well.  I pray these posts encourages you to lean in even closer to God’s Word.

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One of the reasons I am so passionate about women learning their Bibles is because we can’t trust in His promises if we don’t know them. The last few weeks have kicked me around something fierce. There has been disappointment and uncertainty and so much doubt and fear. I turned to Isaiah 43 sometime last week and literally just clung to it. I read it several times a day every day and just prayed that God would help me believe.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. (v.2)

you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you (v. 4)

I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior. (v.11)

There were so many things that I needed to hear from that chapter, but this is the verse that I couldn’t let go of…

“I will make a way in the wilderness”

I began praying that God would do what he promised – that he would make a way in the wilderness; that he would make a way where there seemed to me to be no way at all. The longer I sat with that text, the more I began to understand that I didn’t just want a WAY in the wilderness, I wanted an EASY WAY in the wilderness.  I wanted God to give me an easy way out – but He’s never promised me that. I had began doubting that God was making a way at all because the way wasn’t easy.

One of the most valuable things about God’s Word is that it always reveals the truth to us, and about us. This morning I am thankful that he makes a way in the wilderness, even if the way is not easy.

 

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Connect with Early Morning Mama on Facebook HERE.

 

We’re all criminals on Good Friday

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left…One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:32:-43  

The criminal hanging by Jesus’ side represents the very best any of us can hope to be in the story of the crucifixion.  Like him, we are all guilty of our own sin, our hearts marred by impurity and selfish desires and evil deeds.  Like him, we stand condemned and rightly so;  each and every one of us.  Like him, we are all desperately in need of the only one who is truly good to bring us into salvation.  May each of us approach God this Good Friday morning with the perspective, humility, and bold faith of that criminal.  Understanding our guilt,  but completely convinced that He bore it.  On this day, the darkest day in human history, may we fiercely cling to Jesus’ promise to that criminal – understanding that it applies to us as well – because if we weren’t all criminals, there would be no need for the cross; “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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