my favorite Bible study resources

favorite bible study resources

Happy Friday!

Remember when I told you I would share some of my favorite Bible study resources? Well, I delivered. I know you’re shocked. I am too. What can I say? The stars aligned, my children did really well during their nap/quiet time, and here we are today. We’ll make this Friday Faves my ‘favorite Bible study resources’ edition. Catchy.

Some of these I’ve mentioned before {either in book reviews or during Friday Faves} and some of them are new. But I thought it would be helpful to have them in one spot. Before we begin, let me say one thing: some of the things I’m about to mention cost money.

I am not saying you have to get these things in order to dwell richly in the Word.
All you need is the Word.

Having said that, there are some resources that have been extremely helpful in my study of the Word. So, if you are desiring to grow in this area, let me encourage you to put these items on your wishlist – birthday, Christmas, yard sale money, etc. They’re definitely worth the price.

Let’s start with the obvious need: a Bible.

Over the last few months, I’ve been using and loving this one:

esv womens

I also have the ESV Study Bible, but have found myself reaching for the Women’s Devotional Bible more frequently. The main reason? It’s smaller & lighter. It also helps that it’s prettier. I mean, I realize that’s not necessary for a Bible to be pretty, but…it’s an added bonus. Also, there are 365 devotionals included. Every one I’ve read so far has been excellent. You can check out more info + a video of the interior here.

If you’re looking for some other options for study Bibles, here’s a helpful article :: Which is the Best Study Bible?

If you’re wondering why you should study the Bible – or maybe you want to, but you just don’t know how to get started? Definitely check out Women of the Word. I have reviewed this book already, so I’ll just say that this book needs to go on your ‘to read’ list ASAP.

women of the word

Gospel Meditations for Women is a little booklet of 31 devotionals. Different methods of Bible study are appropriate for different seasons of life. I have found this devotional booklet to be an invaluable resource during my “I’ve-just-given-birth” seasons. Because when you don’t have much energy but you still need strength, sometimes you need someone to spoon feed you. This booklet is my version of spiritual spoon feeding during the precious and difficult stage of newborn living.

Gospel Meditations for Women

I have the Bible Gateway app on my phone and use it daily. There are multiple versions available in both visual and audio format. I like to listen to it in the mornings while I’m getting ready and my 5 year old, Anna Grace, has been using it to listen to the Bible during her afternoon quiet time.

bible gateway

Bible.is is a similar site/app. Free and useful. Sometimes the drama Bible reading is a bit um . . . dramatic for me, but overall I’ve loved it.

bible.is

Last and certainly not least – I’m currently doing this study on the book of Joshua. I printed out the workbook {find it here}. It’s free and excellent. I told Jonathan just last week that I love it because I feel like I’m actually learning the book of Joshua. Not just reading it, but actually entering into it through the reading, thought-provoking questions, and helpful sessions. If you’re feeling stuck in Bible study, let me encourage you to check out the options here. You’ll find a list of the books on the right side of the site.

So, those are 7 of my favorite Bible study resources. How about you? Have you used any of these? Any you would add? Let’s encourage each other with solid Biblical resources in the comments!

 

 

p.s. don’t forget!
next week is the first week of the Friday Faves link up! if you’re a blogger and want to link up your Friday Faves, all you’ll need to do is come here Friday and insert your link! can’t wait to see what you guys share!

dwelling richly

dwelling richly

On Monday, I shared my burden about the most important thing a mom {or anyone} can do.

Those thoughts were taken from my meditations in Colossians 3 – specifically verse 16.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”

Dwell richly. What does that even mean?
I thought it might be helpful to dig a little deeper and meditate on this verse together to uncover more of its meaning. A dictionary is an invaluable tool, especially in uncovering the meaning of Bible passages. Let’s look at some of the definitions and see if we can figure out a little more of what it means to “dwell richly.”
The definitions are numbered; my thoughts are italicized.

Dwell:
1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.

The Word of God is supposed to live in us – as a permanent resident. It’s always there. It never leaves. Fixed. Forever.

2. to live or continue in a given condition or state: to dwell in happiness.

We are to continually live and continue in the Word. When you ‘dwell in happiness,’ you’re continually happy. Maybe annoyingly so.
When you dwell in the Word, you continually think in a Word-filled way. Not annoyingly so.

3. to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writingto dwell on a particular point in an argument.

Linger over. When I think of the word linger, I think of either great conversation or excellent food. It’s a conversation I don’t want to end, so I keep talking and stretching it out. Or it’s a meal that is amazingly delicious, so I eat slowly – willing it to last forever. Lingering, emphasizing, and pondering – each of these words ought to describe my relationship with the Word.

Richly:

I love each of these definitions, because they describe not only how we should dwell in the Word, but they also describe the result.
1. abounding

Our dwelling in the Word should be abounding, filling, existing in great quantities – but as we abound and fill our minds with the Word, so we find ourselves filled with Truth and abounding in things that really matter.

2. in a beautiful and expensive way

As we dwell richly in the Word, we are filled with the knowledge of God’s beautiful character – and as the Holy Spirit works in our hearts, He makes us beautiful.

3. in a pleasingly strong way

When I think of ‘pleasingly strong’, I think of an intense aroma. It’s something that can be sensed immediately and which permeates everything. As we dwell richly in the Word, our minds will be permeated and filled with this Truth. It will affect our thinking, actions, habits, and emotions. As we soak in the fragrance of God’s Word, every area of our lives will have the scent of His Truth.

4. in a generous way

Liberal. Not stingy or selfish. Constantly giving more of the Word to myself – and consequently, giving more of myself to the Word and the God Who wrote it.

Wow. I don’t know about you, but after reading, meditating on, and applying those thoughts to my life, I not only understand more of what it means to dwell richly in God’s Word – I am even more convinced that I need His Word in my life.

By the way, did you realize that we only looked at 2 words?
You see, sometimes Bible study looks like taking in large portions of Scripture at a time in order to grasp the whole picture. And other times, it looks like camping out on 1 verse – or 1 word even – in order to fill my heart and mind with it’s meaning. Both kinds of study are necessary to be dwelling richly in the Word.

 

I’m working on putting together a few of my favorite Bible study resources. If all goes as planned, I’ll have that for you Friday.
Since things never go as planned, you can reasonably expect it within the week. Or maybe by the summer. Or 2018. Clearly I have commitment issues.

the most important thing a mom can do

the most important thing

As moms, there are a lot of demands on our time. And if you have small children like I do, then you have a lot of moments when the urgent overtakes the important. And sometimes there are two {or more!} urgent things happening at the same time. As in, dinner may be burning in the oven, but if my child is finger painting with the contents of his diaper – well, sometimes dinner just gets served a little burnt as I stop the art in progress.

We’re constantly forced to choose.

What are we going to do?
When are we going to do it?
Why? Where? With whom? For how long?

But there is one critical aspect of our lives that should never be left out.

In fact, if you take this one thing away, everything else will become skewed.

Your goals, desires, emotions, and thoughts all depend on this. As do your parenting, marriage, and relationships.

What is it?
your time in the Word.

Why is this the most important thing a mom can do?
Because as moms, we’re constantly giving – both in our words and actions. I’m constantly interacting with my children – acting & reacting. And when I’m responding to something they’re doing – whether their action is right or wrong – I’m responding immediately.

It’s a fact of life: when my chocolate milk gets bumped into, chocolate milk is what spills out.

What happens when someone bumps – or slams – into you?
When your child is a grumpycat all day long? When the family doesn’t appreciate your work and your spouse seems to take you for granted? When your teenager yells at you and goes against everything you’ve ever taught?
What spills out of you during tough times? For that matter, what spills out during amazingly awesome times?

What spills out? It’s whatever you’ve put in.

I can’t expect to have Biblical truths to share with my fighting children if I’m never filling my mind with those truths.
I will never be able to help my children apply the Gospel to their daily lives if I’m not first applying it to my daily problems and joys.
Perhaps the reason why that ‘other’ mom/dad always seems to have a good answer for her children is because she’s training her mind with the answers from God’s Word.

Maybe it’s time to dwell richly in God’s Word.
Maybe it’s time to stop checking facebook and instagram as soon as I wake up and instead check my heart into God’s Word.
Maybe it’s time to stop asking google & my mom friends what I should do and instead search God’s Word for the answer.

I am deeply burdened by my own need to soak into the Truth of God’s Word. More. and More. and More.
And I’m also deeply burdened for you – my fellow moms, friends, peers. Because the internet is a loud place. And there are a lot of loud people and influences in your life.

And if you are not filtering these things through the grid of God’s Word, then you are using a false grid of your own making.
If you are not dwelling richly in the Word,
then you’re dwelling on something else.
If your thoughts aren’t being influenced by God’s words,
then they’re being influenced by someone else.
If God’s Truth doesn’t have a grip on your heart, then something else does.

What are you reading? Watching? Listening to?
It is filling your mind. And it is spilling out onto your kids. 

Let your mind be filled with the truth of God’s Word. And so pour it out on those around you.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”
Colossians 3:16

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Friday Faves {+ an exciting announcement!!}

Hey hey! Happy Friday to you!

5 lovely links for your perusal…

these homemade breakfast hot pockets sounds super tasty! plus, since they use pizza dough, you could totally snag the pre-made stuff and make it a little easier on yourself! yum.

Homemade-breakfast-hot-pockets2

I have had excellent results using baking soda to clean my stove. here are 10 uses for this ‘miracle cleaner.’

Miracle-Cleaner-11

Fear. It’s a major part of life for a lot of people – especially if you’re a creative. Written by Emily Jeffords, this post about living creatively without fear is beautifully put.

fear

O my. After viewing these pictures, I have even more of a desire to carve out a little nook in my home just to think and write. For now, I shall live vicariously through this workspace reveal. Color! Pattern! Organization! LOVE.

workspace

I mentioned this on facebook, but in case you missed it – you can snag a free 8×8 photo book {through Monday, 3/23} when you use code: 1FREEBOOK.

I’ve been hoping for a deal like this to come along because I’m drastically behind in making my family’s ‘yearbook.’ Womp Womp.
Like 3 years behind. Womp Womp Womp.

So my big plan for this weekend? MAKE A PHOTO BOOK. I know that sounds exciting. Try not to be jealous.
I keep reminding myself that it will be worth it when we get the book in the mail. And it really will – I just have to make myself sit down and do it already.

Free Photo Book 300x600

Finally – I’m excited to announce a new thing for this site! Hooray for NEW!
Since I’ve been making Friday Faves a regular edition for Brown Sugar Toast aaaaand since I love reading what other people find inspiring around the web – how about we combine those 2 lovely things into a linky party? If you’re not sure what a ‘linky party’ is, it’s basically just a spot where bloggers can all share their Friday Faves link-ups. I’m teaming up with my friend, Susanna, from Revisionary Life to host this party. The more the merrier, right-o?

What’s in it for you?
If you’re a blogger, I would absolutely love for you to write about your Friday Faves {whether it’s links around the web, your awesome new shampoo, or your big plans for the weekend} and link up with me! You’ll get some more traffic out of it and we all know how great it is to share the love!

If you’re not a blogger, don’t despair! My Friday Faves post will still be here like normal – only now there will be a whole list of other blogs you can check out! Sweet, huh?

The link-up will begin the first Friday in April – April 3rd to be exact. So blogger friends, get those links ready and your fingers typing! Can’t wait to visit your site!

Have a lovely weekend!

why what you treasure has nothing to do with how much you spend

Treasure.

It can equal riches, but it doesn’t have to.
I can treasure expensive things.
But I can also treasure things that are free.

This truth hit me full force after I bought my $6 chair.

$6 chair

One of my happy thoughts in buying the chair was that it was only $6 – less than a combo meal at Chick-fil-a – so I didn’t have that much invested in it if it got stained or ruined.

Fast forward a few months when we had a group of people over. One of them, bless his heart, gave a slight jump and made a crash landing into my chair. MY $6 CHAIR.

I stared silently. In shock. Not sure how to respond to such a display.

And that’s when I realized how much I truly loved and treasured that chair.

Because of the silent freak-out session that happened inside my heart after the crash landing had indeed come to a stop right in my beloved – albeit cheap – chair.

You see, it had nothing to do with how much money I had spent, but with how much of myself I had spent. 

The $6? Totally replaceable.
The energy I had spent to find that chair?
The joy I experienced when I bought it for such a steal?
The pride I had in telling my husband, mom, you guys, and the neighborhood squirrels about the steal?
Yeah. Not so easily replaced.

And that’s when I realized it’s possible for my heart to treasure anything. Really – anything. But the danger comes when I give myself and my affections to a particular thing.

Which is why these verses from Colossians are completely on point:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:1-3

As a believer in Christ, my affections must be wrapped up in Him.
How does that happen? It happens as I fix my mind and heart on Him and His Word.
Am I spending most of my thoughts and emotions on earthly things? Or on Christ?

Today, give your treasures to Christ. And seek to treasure Him above all.
That’s what I want to do, don’t you? I don’t want my treasure to be wrapped up in the here and now, like it so often is. I want my heart, thoughts, and goals to be on better things. On Christ. Let’s encourage each other towards this goal!

treasure