God sent me a wake-up call while we were in Taiwan. When the church we were visiting challenged us to participate in a 21 day fast, I began spending more time reading the Bible and praying. As I drew closer to God, He gave me the word Renew as my One Word for 2020. I was keenly aware that I needed to be renewed spiritually. How does that happen?
My first step toward renewal was to get into God’s Word every day. I downloaded the Daily Audio Bible App and started listening to Scripture before getting up each morning. Often, I play the episode once again before falling asleep at night.
So far, the host, Brian Hardin, has guided us through Genesis, Exodus, and part of Leviticus. He has also read through Matthew and the beginning of Mark. A Psalm and a short section from Proverbs rounds out each day’s reading. Brian often takes a few minutes to share insights on one or more of the passages and pray. The recording usually ends with recorded greetings, prayers, and requests from other listeners. The Daily Audio Bible is a great way to start my day.
As soon as we returned home from our trip, I signed up for a Ladies’ Bible Study at church. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but it’s been amazing. Rather than just working through a book and video study this time around, we are learning to use Bible study tools to mine God’s Word for hidden treasure. Using colored pencils, we are highlighting the book of Hebrews.
We’ve discovered many ways that Jesus is superior to anything and anyone from the Old Testament—angels, Moses, the priests and prophets… Color-coding makes keywords leap off the page. Examining the original meanings of some words, I am beginning to understand the book of Hebrews as never before.
Do you know how the sacrificial system of the Old Testament points straight to Jesus? It’s all explained in Hebrews. The old system was flawed and temporary, but He is our perfect Savior forever. Even the tabernacle, so carefully built according to God’s blueprints, was merely a shadow of the true one in Heaven, where Jesus serves as our high priest.
With these things in mind, the author of Hebrews challenges us to grow stronger in Jesus. He reminds us to love, serve, and encourage others as we live out our faith.
Days after our return from Taiwan, the girls and I headed out to rejoin our Community Bible Study (CBS) class. The new unit on Christian Living was just beginning. After a sweep through the short book of Philemon, we started working our way through First John.
A few weeks into the study, God challenged me to supplement CBS’s question and answer approach with the tools I had been using for Hebrews. I printed off a copy of First John, grabbed my colored pencils, and dug in. After using these tools to study the passage on my own, the questions are much easier to answer, and I learn so much more.
I am amazed at how well John’s first letter dovetails with Hebrews. Some common themes echo through both books. But John’s message is primarily about living out our faith through obedience and love. This kind of love isn’t for the faint of heart. Do you remember how Jesus laid His life down for us? John challenges us to love like that!
Since the twins are involved in 2 youth groups and CBS, I was tempted to set aside the Bible assignments in our Sonlight curriculum. Instead, we dove in headfirst, and none of us has regretted it.
Together, We’ve been reading the BBC Manual: Turning Your Bedroom into a Bible College. The girls are learning the basics of Bible study. In the coming weeks, they will begin using tools from the book to do their own in-depth investigation of Bible passages. Is it merely a coincidence that I’ve recently added some of these same tools to my personal Bible study? No. Clearly, God has been preparing me to teach them these new skills.
Rather than skip the Daily Bible reading in our Sonlight instructor guide, I found plans on the YouVersion Bible App which include each day’s assigned chapters. Signing up for these plans, I sent the twins invitations to join me. After they accepted my request, we could see each other’s progress. Each of us reads the passages on our own every day.
Exploring the app, I discovered related videos for each chapter. For the book of Mark, some videos read and dramatize each passage.
Since my twins are highly visual, I encourage them to view the videos. Aside from offering insights into the cultural context, they are fun to watch.
One day each week, we have been learning about apologetics. The book But Don’t All Religions Lead to God? reminds us that Jesus is unique. There is no one like Him in any other faith. Though it’s not our typical read-aloud, my daughters love listening to me read a chapter or two each week.
To supplement our Bible curriculum, we have been reading missionary stories from Venturing With God in Congo.
It’s been exciting to see how applicable God’s Word is across cultures. Each chapter shows us what God has been doing in Africa. I can’t wait to share our full review of this book in a few weeks.
Why have I always been hesitant to add in more Bible study for myself and my kids? As we’ve dug into the Word more than ever before, God has challenged me to reprioritize. In the past, I’ve treated academics as the most crucial part of my kids’ education. Is it? In reality, the Truth of God’s Word is far more essential. I’m thrilled to focus on it more as God is renewing our homeschool this year.