In the morning, when I rise {Part 1}

Why I study the Bible_LLB

Mornings are my favorite time of day. The earth is still, the coffee is brewing, and my heart has yet to get after its' long to do list. I hunger after the stillness that can only be touched in the morning time. The reason this time of day is so dear to my heart is because it is when I meet with the Lord. No distractions, no things done, no one to talk to, just me and my Lord. This time is sacred and holy, the most important thing I do each day. It is my deepest desire to see women cherish this time with Christ. The moments spent in the secret place with Him will no doubt change us and change the world around us. If we want to walk intimately with Him, we must spend time with Him in the riches of His Word. I want to share with you a portion of how I study Scripture in the mornings. This is the beginning of a mini-series about studying the Bible. I would love for you to email me with more specific questions about studying the Bible or leave comments below with questions. I may not know all of the answers, but together we can seek to know Christ more through His Word! Let's spur each other on towards knowing Christ fully and intimately through embracing His Word!

Where Do I Start?

One of the biggest hurdles for believers to spend time in the Word each day is not knowing where to start. Can I get an amen? We need a plan - we need structure. First of all, to keep us on track with a goal and purpose. Second, to give us a full understanding of the text. In middle school, my favorite tactic for reading the Bible was to open it randomly, point my finger at a verse, and hope it was something life-changing. Most of the time it made no sense and I left disappointed and confused. God's Word wasn't meant to be chosen at random, but studied as a whole. Studying whole books of the Bible in their context not only makes the entire Bible come to life, but it gives the Holy Spirit an incredible way to speak to us through the Word.

John 1:1 tells us "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Jesus is the Word. He, being the Word, was in the beginning with God. Jesus is God and He is the Word of God. Therefore, the Bible is literally Jesus. All of the text points to Christ our Savior. The gravity and importance of this verse is life-changing. Because if we want to know Jesus, we must know the Word, because Jesus is the Word. This makes Scripture literally come alive! We are not reading a mere story, we are reading the entire purpose of life and the hope for eternity!

Last year I decided to read the Bible chronologically for the first time. I was always afraid to begin such a task because I didn't want to fail. Failure, in my mind, was getting behind and not finishing in the allotted 365 days. But the Lord taught me grace. He wasn't concerned about me finishing within one year, but about me knowing the Word. Little did I know, God used this year to radically change my heart for reading the entire text of Scripture. After reading every minor prophet, every law, every list of genealogies, every word in the text, I saw Jesus in a way I had never seen Him before. I saw Him in Genesis, Zechariah, and Revelation. Each book was no longer a mystery, but pointed to our Savior.

Studying the Bible chronologically or book by book will change your heart. I love alternating between Old Testament books and New Testament books. The Bible is like a chain - everything is connected. All of Scripture is God-breathed and is proven to change us and guide us. God will guide and direct you as you study and ask Him where to start. If you are still at a loss of where to start, open up to Matthew and learn about Jesus. Every word of God changes us, but we must first open up the book to be changed. It is time we no longer give Satan the victory by leaving our Bibles on our bedside tables unopened. Let's embrace the powerful Word of God that we have and strive to know Christ with every fiber of our being!

Journal to Study

Currently, I am reading through the book of Ephesians. Below, I want to show you how I use my journal to study the text and break it down to be planted in my heart. When I study Scripture, I write as I go. Every word and every paragraph has a purpose. I mark in my Bible themes, important words, promises, and key points. Words like "and," "but," "therefore," "in," "through," "all," and "every" are circled in my Bible. They point to a purpose. For example, Ephesians 1:3-10 is one very long sentence. Through writing down what each verse points to and the words that are repeated, the theme of the sentence comes together. God's glorious grace has saved us through Christ Jesus and set us apart for His purpose. We have everything we need through Christ and have been chosen by Him, by His will, to be adopted as sons through Him. Throughout the book of Ephesians, the "glorious grace" of God is magnified and praised.

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In my Pawpaw's Bible, he consistently dated when he read Scripture. He would write prayer requests and praises throughout and would also date when they were answered. I have done this for many years as well and God has used it to remind me of His faithfulness in the past and His faithfulness today!

Be Still & Know

In the "Give Me Jesus" Journal there is a section called "Be Still & Know" that is based off of Psalm 46:10. I use this portion each day to write down a small prayer, or a verse to meditate on. Sometimes I even write down praises to the Lord. This section is to still and focus my heart on the Lord. You can do this in any journal you have.

Drink Deep From the Well

In this section, I write down everything I learn from the text. Since I was beginning Ephesians this day, I wrote down the basics of the passage - author, who it was written to, why it was written, where it was written. This sets the stage for seeing what God was teaching through this letter written to Paul and how it applies to us today. I then break down the verses by writing out themes, circling key words, and digging deep into the meaning of the word. For example, the word "Blessed" in verse 3 has two different meanings. The first use means "to be praised." We are to praise God for His character. The second use means "to celebrate with praises." God has given us all that we need through Christ. He celebrates to give us the gift of salvation and hope through His Son. Through studying these two words, the verse has a fuller meaning!

 Selah - Stop & Listen

The word "selah" means to pause. After reading the text, I seek to spend time meditating on it and thinking it through. It is SO easy to read it quickly and move past it to start our day. But often, this time is crucial to hearing what the Holy Spirit is teaching.

Ask & Apply

Next, I ask and apply. What is God asking me to do from this text? How can I apply it to my life? In what ways can I be obedient? In this section, I write down all that God is teaching me and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me to apply it to my life.

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Ephesians_LLB

Pray BIG

I cringe at the number of days in my life that have been prayer less. Prayer is an incredible gift of God, a powerful weapon, and a means to talk to Him at all times. Praying should be an integral part of our days. It looks different for me each day. Sometimes I write down a prayer to the Lord, other days I write down prayer requests and claim Scripture over them, and other days I write down praises. I included a short portion of this in the picture, but this time in my quiet time is sacred.

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 My prayer today is that we would hunger and thirst after the Living God and that we would fill our hearts with His Word.

Every moment of every day, give me Jesus.

your sister,

Gretchen