It’s All About Jesus

I made the decision a year ago that I would read the Bible in its entirety in one year. It was something I always wanted to do, but I usually fell off the plan after getting to Deuteronomy. I almost gave up multiple times, but God gave me the strength to keep pushing forward.

When I embarked on the journey of reading the Bible in an entire year, it was mainly because I felt that as a Christian it was hypocritical to say you believed in God but never even read God’s word to us. I felt that we should know the scriptures inside and out. But as I read, my perspective on this changed. While it is great to have read the entire Bible and to know it well, it is not solely necessary for salvation. Some may believe that eternal life comes by reading scriptures, but the scriptures point to who really brings eternal life: JESUS (John 5:39)!

I also think about those who do not have access to a Bible but have been told the gospel and have believed. They may not be able to read the Bible at all, but they believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). They will be saved!

I was all wrong when I first started my read through. I was seeking intellectual knowledge, not seeking salvation through Jesus or a personal relationship with him. I was also planning to post my accomplishment all over social media once I completed reading the Bible. Why? In order to brag or appear holy? As much as I hate to admit, that may have been the reason. Instead, I only told a few of my dear Christian friends that I meet with and a few family members.

As I embark on reading through the Bible again next year, it won’t be so that I can add a tally to how many times I’ve read the Bible. It will be so that I can see Jesus Christ shine brightly throughout the entirety of the scriptures (Old AND New Testaments) and to know Him even more as my savior. I need to get it ingrained into my brain that he is all I need for my salvation. I need to learn how to see others as loved by God. And I will do this while I still have free and unrestricted access to my Bible.

Life & Apathy…BUT GOD!

It’s been a while since I posted anything. And to be honest, this post is one that I decided to write at the last minute…before work!

There have been some great developments in my life (getting a new job has been the main thing) and I am so grateful to God that He has been listening to and answering my prayers. But with these new developments came a bit of apathy. Some of the important things, such as this blog, got pushed aside as I tried to adjust to my new circumstances. Also, my Bible reading slowed considerably. But over the past few weeks, God has truly renewed my passion for His word. I’ve joined a small group at church and I’ve also started back meeting with a Christian friend of mine each week. I have been continuing with my reading plan each day, which is essentially just to finish reading the entire Bible by the end of the year. Currently I am reading Acts, which is a powerful history of the early church. I have been intrigued by the sacrifices and the risks disciples took to spread the gospel around the world. I’m also studying Colossians with my friend and seeing how Paul showed concern and care for the church of Colossae. On top of that, I am listening to an audiobook called Tortured for Christ, by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand. So my mind has been completely engulfed in the persecution of Christians worldwide, past and present.

And while my Bible reading and study have been exciting, I’ve been even more excited about a close family member coming to church with me each week. This is another thing I’ve been praying about for a long time! God has proven to be faithful and trustworthy and I thank Him everyday for the changes that have occurred over the past couple of months. So while I may not post to this blog consistently, do know that God is working in and through me each and every day. I pray that He does the same in your life as well.

I Just Completed Reading the Old Testament!

Bible open to the Old Testament

Today is sort of a new milestone for me: I have completely read through the entire Old Testament in the Bible! To be honest, I’ve been a Christian for awhile and never read through the entire Bible before. I will be beginning the New Testament tomorrow and I am extremely excited!

Many people do not pay much attention to the Old Testament since we are now living under the new covenant. But I still feel that reading through the Old Testament should be required because it says so much about God’s character. I learned how God is astonishingly patient with us and how He truly loves his children. While God is patient and loving, He is also like a parent who disciplines His child. Any good parent would discipline their children!

I am now ready to begin the New Testament and read all about the one that the Old Testament pointed to so many times: JESUS.

Forgiveness

Over the past few weeks, I have been learning about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not only important, but necessary. It is necessary not only for the person who offended us, but also for ourselves. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, anger, stress and depression. It is so much healthier for us to forgive than to hold on to our pain forever.

I’ve been learning how to look at a person and look past their sin or offense…Lord knows that I’ve sinned and offended people. Beneath that sin or offense is a person. A human being with feelings, opinions, struggles and dreams…we can so easily just focus on the sin and not the person. 

This may be easier said than done and I respect anyone who is dealing with anger and bitterness. It’s hard to let go of the pain and forget the past. Especially when the person doesn’t ask for it. But it is so much better for our souls to let go. It may be cliche, but “let go and let God” is a phrase that fits here. Let go of the pain, the offense, and let God handle the person. Pray for them, since we are to pray for our enemies. Still be friendly to them, even if you don’t receive the same treatment back. Listen to them if they open up to you. Forgive them, whether they ask for it or not.

These past few weeks, I have forgiven a few people. It honestly feels good to relieve myself of that stress. Some asked for forgiveness and others didn’t. But either way, I am at peace and moving forward with my life and focusing on knowing Jesus, my Savior.

I challenge you to do the same thing. It will be hard and serious conversations will probably need to be had. But know that it is better for you and most of all, God wants us to forgive others like he forgives us (Colossians 3:13).  

Grace and peace.

Connecting at “The Swap”

This past Monday, I attended a gathering at my church called “The Swap.” The Swap is essentially a monthly gathering of women who swap meaningful items (books, etc.) and advice/stories with one another. The Swap was ultimately created for connection with other women in the church.

Now I will be honest, I consider myself to be an introvert. Sometimes social interaction is too much for me, especially after work. But I decided to go to the gathering because as a Christian, I don’t believe we should do life alone (Hebrews 10:24-25)!

So after all of my internal dialog and anxiety, I am extremely happy that I attended this event. What I enjoyed most about The Swap was the interaction with other women. We were able to sit together at tables, worship, play a game and listen to other women share their stories. During this time of sharing, I realized that all of us have gone through or are going through tough situations…I’m not the only one in the world struggling! Some women have had very difficult experiences that they’ve had to work through. They may have even doubted God at one point or was confused by His silence or seemingly, His inaction. Knowing that other women are navigating through life’s disappointments gave me hope; their stories gave me the courage I needed to continue enduring. Their vulnerability was beautifully refreshing; we don’t have to put on a facade and act like things have always been perfect. Their gentleness really gave the gathering a sense of peace and calm…exactly what I needed after a long day of work!

We ended our time with worship and the exchanging of books. I brought a book called Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman; this book really changed how I viewed an authentic relationship with Christ. I was also able to pick out a book that someone else brought in called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I’ve heard great things about this book!

Looking back on this experience, I feel that God wanted me there. He wanted me to interact with other women, hear their stories and just be in His presence. Sometimes stepping out of that comfort zone can be more helpful than we thought.

Trusting God

Over the past few years, I’ve been learning something about trusting God. It seems like each day has been a test for me in trusting God! When I graduated from college and entered the real world, the test began. Being a working adult, not seeing my life pan out the way I thought it would, realizing that the world is truly cut-throat, and also realizing that I am not a special snowflake with the world in my hands was completely devastating to me. Sometimes I wonder if these notions were conceived during elementary, middle, and high school. But whenever it happened, it definitely wasn’t the right way to look at the adult life. Now that I’m married and fully in adulthood, I see that it’s really hard.

I don’t think there will ever be a day where I am not trusting God. I’m learning how to trust Him with my career, my marriage, and my finances. And what I’ve come to realize is that He is trustworthy! He has not let me down yet. Even when things don’t turn out the way I want them to, I know that it is ultimately for the best and that He can see the future…I can’t! Therefore, if God shuts down an opportunity for me, then maybe it really wasn’t the opportunity I thought it would be. 

And I can say the same thing for you. Sometimes we find ourselves in not-so-desirable circumstances and we want to do anything we can to get out of it. We start putting the weight on our own shoulders thinking that we have to get in control of this situation. And many times, we forget about God. That weight is way too heavy for us to carry on our own. We need to trust God in every situation and run to Him first when we’re struggling. Personally, I try to run away from the problem with hopes that the grass is greener on the other side. Each time that I run God brings me right back. He wants me to stay where I am right now so that I can learn how to truly depend on Him. And wow, am I learning!

Do you find yourself in a similar situation but God is constantly bringing you back to what you’ve been running from? If so, stop running. Stop worrying and being anxious. Start learning in your circumstances. God knows exactly what is best for you!

A Change of Plans! (Blog Update)

Sometimes plans don’t particularly work out…or maybe they do, depending on how you look at it. 

I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do with this blog. Initially, I wanted it to be a companion blog for my Youtube channel. I eventually found myself asking: why would I have a blog that is saying the same thing as my Youtube channel, just in writing? Of course, I can go into much more detail in a blog post than I can in a video, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that this was not what I wanted. I want my blog to be an extension of who I am and about the God that I’m learning more and more about each day.

So I’ve decided to make this blog more personal and relatable. I’ve noticed that people like blogs that are human, showing emotion and vulnerability. We are all on a journey and it’s nice to have someone to go with. So with that being said, I’ve decided to post more consistently on this blog and not just when I want to point people to a Youtube video that I’ve made. I plan to commit to my blog like I’ve committed to my YouTube channel over the past four months; I will be posting a new article every two weeks on this blog. Sometimes it may be related to my YouTube videos or it may just be a general life update and what God has been showing me through it all.

I am striving for more relate-ability and connection. It’s not really even about having a flourishing YouTube channel or blog. It’s all about connecting with others and getting to know Jesus.

Although I may have lost sight of my plans with this blog, I have now found a much better purpose for it. Maybe my plans worked out after all. 

Bible Study Resources

Studying the Bible is paramount to growing in your relationship with God. Luckily, we live in a time where Bible study resources are readily available at our fingertips (literally)! Therefore, we must use the resources available to us in order to learn, study, and apply the Word of God to our lives.

While not exhaustive, the Bible study resources below are resources I’ve personally used and enjoyed. I will continue to update this list as I discover more. Feel free to comment with some that have worked for you!

1. Logos Bible Software
Logos Bible Software is an amazing way to digitally study the Bible and also have a ton of commentaries, notes, tools, and more to help you digest the word of God. There are multiple base packages available and some can get quite expensive. But there is a free version called Logos 7 Basic available that you can use and possibly upgrade as time goes on. Logos also offers an online digital store where you can purchase more resources and seamlessly add to your Logos library. There are also mobile apps that can be used in conjunction with the desktop software, which is available on both PC and Mac.

2. Olive Tree Bible
Olive Tree Bible is very similar to Logos in that it is another wonderful software that you can use to study the Bible with ease. You can purchase commentaries, books, and more in the online Olive Tree store to expand you collection, just like you can in Logos. The software itself is free and available for PC, Mac, and mobile devices.

3. YouVersion Bible
YouVersion Bible set the tone and paved the way for digital Bible access. There are a ton of translations available on the YouVersion website and mobile app. You can highlight, share scripture easily, and even do text comparisons between different translations. This is an essential app to download for quick and easy access to God’s Word.

4. Bible.is
Similar to the YouVersion Bible app, Bible.is provides access to some of the best audio (dramatized and non-dramatized) versions of the Bible. This is an excellent way of soaking in God’s word when you aren’t able to read, such as on a daily commute or while exercising.

5. Bible Hub
Bible Hub provides a great resource for in-depth Bible study. There are commentaries, sermons, cross references, and parallel texts available for online research. There are also many different Bible translations available.

6. Bible Study Tools
Bible Study Tools is another great website similar to Bible Hub. You can read the Bible in several different translations, read devotionals and commentaries, compare translations and much more.

7. Biblical Training
Biblical Training is a wonderful resource for studying the Bible in a self-paced college course format. There are basic (foundational) courses, advanced, and seminary-level courses available, all for free!

8. Thru The Bible (TTB)
Jump on the Bible bus with Dr. J. Vernon McGee! Thru the Bible provides a five year study that goes chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse through the Bible with commentary by Dr. McGee. One of the best resources you can use to enhance your study time.

9. First 5 App
The First 5 app is exclusively for women wanting to study the Bible collectively. There are multiple Bible study plans available at your fingertips, where you can study with other women in the First 5 community or in a private group with women from your church. You also have the ability to study any of the plans individually.