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bible study

Cheer up. He is calling you.

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Do you know the story of blind Bartimeus? It’s in Mark 10…

Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you,” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

This story of Jesus healing Bartimeus has become a call to prayer for me.

Weird connection? Stay with me.

My perspective on prayer has changed drastically in the past few years. I used to live in the camp that my prayers had to be well-put-together, with the right words, quoting scripture, asking for the best things, etc.

Now, through grace and Spirit-led discoveries, prayer is ongoing interaction with Father God. I invite Him to join me in my breakfast or morning jog. I ask His opinion before I speak or enter a meeting. I share frustrations, fears, and disappointment with Him on the spot, whether I’m driving, talking, or washing dishes.

The gift of praying, Holy Spirit inside us as a constant Companion, is so beautiful, so profound, so revolutionary.

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how the Psalms help me picture God

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Lately my spiritual growth has been marked by the words, “taste and see.” Meditation, prayer, quiet are examples of practicalities.

I’m a creative individual, a visual person, you might say. In this fresh season of learning and change, the taste part has been easier than the see part.

So what did I do? I asked God to help me see. I was even super specific, Lord, give my heart’s eye an image. 

I don’t need to literally and physically see Him with my eyes, that won’t happen in this life, we live by faith not by sight, but maybe to taste and see Him is to dwell on the beautiful, marvelous person of God. 

I didn’t “get” anything supernatural, but the next day I was prompted to read through Psalms to see how God is personified with human characteristics, or even specific details of His being.

So I read, flipping page after page, jotting down verses here and there. I’d like to share some of them with you, in case your heart ever longs to see God, and struggles a little like I did.

  • He is a shield around me. Psalm 3:3
  • He lifts my head, like a Father would a child. Psalm 3:3
  • He holds my hand. Psalm 73:23
  • His dwelling place is lovely. Psalm 84:1
  • He is robed in majesty and strength. Psalm 93:1
  • He is my safe place. Psalm 4:8
  • His voice is powerful, full of majesty. Psalm 29:4
  • His face shines. Psalm 67:12
  • He is a hiding place. Psalm 32:7
  • He shouts deliverance over me. Psalm 32:7
  • He looks down and sees me. Psalm 33:13, 18
  • In His light, do I see light. Psalm 36:9
  • His hands support me. Psalm 18:35
  • The heavens declare His glory; the sky proclaims His handiwork. Psalm 19:1
  • He is my friend. Psalm 25:14
  • He is beautiful. Psalm 27:4
  • He is my helper, the upholder of my life. Psalm 54:4
  • He is a Rock. Psalm 62:2, 6
  • His right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:8
  • His house is good, His temple is holy. Psalm 65:4
  • He listens to my prayers. Psalm 66:19
  • He hides me in the shadow of His wings. Psalm 17:8
  • He lightens my darkness. Psalm 18:28
  • His way is perfect. Psalm 18:30
  • He is glorious. Psalm 29:1-4
  • The heavens are the work of His fingers. Psalm 8:3
  • He sits enthroned forever. Psalm 9:7
  • He is king. Psalm 10:16
  • His words are pure. Psalm 12:6
  • He covers himself with light as with a garment. Psalm 104:2

I bolded some of my favorites.

Are you experiencing anything new or fresh about God lately? I would love to hear about it.

photo via unsplash

What I’ve Learned Reading Through Deuteronomy

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In my journey of chronological Bible reading, lately I’ve been walking through Deuteronomy.

The Israelites’ preparation to cross the Jordan River, the defeat of kings, the miracles of God, challenges to leaders, a renewed covenant (chapter 5). I read about festivals and feasts, stubbornness and tithing. It makes me sad to think when Christians don’t think a book like Deuteronomy has any real relevance in their today.

Deuteronomy 8 might be among my favorite chapters in the Bible. Remember and obey. 

And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. v. 2-3

Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. v. 17-18

How quickly I forgot God’s faithfulness. How swiftly I lean into my own understanding because I have forgotten a promise in the Bible.

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Precept Upon Precept Bible Study

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Another Way To Study God's Word | heartnatured

The Bible is a never-ending adventure. A well so deep we can never touch the bottom. It’s described as ‘living and active’ and in my years of reading and studying I understand that phrase. I could read the same passage for five years and draw something new out of it. Isn’t it fascinating?

When I was high school, I was introduced to an inductive way of studying the Bible, precept to precept, where you essentially take the passage apart as a way of understanding. “Inductive” is to use the Bible as the primary source of study to learn about God and what the Bible teaches. (via) You pose Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions, and you mark up the passage as a visual way of pulling out key details.

You can mark it up however you wish, but the goal is to do the following:

  1. Consistently ask and find answers for the above questions – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?
  2. Distinguish key words and phrases.
  3. Look out for contrasts and comparisons in the passage.
  4. Note the description of time and location. This will help the story come alive to you, as opposed to textbook reading (you know what I mean).
  5. Identity chapter/book themes and make note of them.

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