Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everybody! I love this holiday with all the chocolate and family time and good food. Some of my most favorite (a scavenger hunt all over the house to find our Easter baskets – my mom was so fun!) and most hilariously tragic (a hole in my bag that let every Easter egg I collected drop out the bottom… and into the waiting hands of my friend Sabrina who followed me around collecting them for herself – ha!!) childhood memories revolve around Easter celebrations, and it’s a time of year I always look forward to. This year I get to spend it with my parents, sister, and her family, and I’m very thankful that we get to spend quality family time together.

I also love this holiday for the joy it brings in marveling at the fact that Jesus gave his life for someone like me who messes up every single day, yet he did so anyway willingly – celebrating the fact that he rose from the dead 3 days after dying on the cross, just as he promised he would – rejoicing that my great God sent his son to be a legit human (that blows my mind sometimes!) and experience all the joys and pain and good things and hard things on Earth and that I’ll get to sing praises to him one day in Heaven. Wow!

I’ve had the chorus of the song Stronger from Hillsong stuck in my head all weekend and it’s been a great reflection of what Easter is really all about.

You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

I hope you all have a lovely day today filled with family and fun and chocolate and the joy that comes from knowing that that Jesus, the son of God who walked on Earth and had friends and ate food and suffered, died a real death on your behalf for your sins because He loves YOU that much.

How I’ve Been Studying the Bible

A few months ago, I went to a little event at my church where the women were getting together to watch a Priscilla Shirer simulcast – she was teaching “live” but we were watching a recorded session of that live teaching a few weeks later. If you’ve ever heard Priscilla speak or done one of her studies, you know that she ALWAYS has REALLY GOOD stuff to say.

One of the things she did while speaking this time was outline the way she studies her bible. Having a “quiet time” in general is not a hard thing to do, right? It’s your time to be still and read the bible and connect with God, but that can look SO drastically different for every person! My personal quiet times have been really varied over the years, and I’m always looking for something new to try out. So when Priscilla outlined how she likes to read the bible, I decided to give it a try. And I’ve been loving it! It’s very simple – you just go through the 5 P’s outlined below!

That seems simple enough, right? Sure! But it’s always nice to have an example to go on, so I’ll go through the 5 P’s right now with you, so you can see how I use it.

The first P is POSITION. Really for this, I get myself into a good space, both physically and mentally, where I’ll be ready to really pay attention to what I’m about to do and focus on spending some time with God. This can look different depending on how I’m feeling that day – sometimes I sit up in my bed, sometimes I sit at my dining room table, sometimes I’m on the couch – as long as I’ve got my bible and my notebook and a pen, I’m good to go. I do, however, make sure that I don’t have any distractions. No phone nearby. No TV on. It’s focus time! And then before I actually start digging into the bible, I write down a few things I’m thankful for and a few things I want to pray specifically for during the rest of the day.

Next it’s time to PORE over the passage and then summarize the major points. Right now I’m going through Philippians (it’s one of my favorites!) This also looks a little different depending on the day. Some days I’ll read through a few verses at a time, but other days I might just read one verse and really focus on it alone. The point of this is to really dig in and understand what God is saying through his word, so just see what feels right for you that day.

Once you’ve read through your passage, it’s time to PULL out the spiritual principles and truths from what you just read. It’s kind of like summarizing above, but this is where you can look a little deeper and see what God is actually trying to say. Is that passage a metaphor for something? Is it literal? What does it mean? Is there a command to follow?

Building off the previous step, it’s now time to POSE questions and make them personal and practical for your life and current situations. If there are directions to be followed, are you following them? If there was a promise given, do you believe it? I usually end up kind of journaling this out (I mentioned before that I have a notebook with me because I like to think things through as I’m writing).

And here we are at the final P! This is where you look over what you just read, learned, and thought about, and PLAN obedience if there was something that convicted you. We are strategic about so many things in our lives, so why not be strategic about following God’s word, too? This can look as simple as praying for guidance on a situation going on it your life, it could look like planning to have a hard conversation with a friend, it could look like apologizing to someone in your life – the possibilities are endless! This plan phase is really what I try to get to stick with me through the rest of my day (which I’m a human so sometimes I fail) but my hope is that it helps me go through my day in a way that will encourage my faith, show love to myself and to others, and reflect God’s kindness to other people around me!

So there you have it – that’s how I’ve been studying my bible lately! It can definitely seem like a more “academic” approach since I’m going a lot slower through scripture than I have in the past (and I have a GREAT study bible where there’s a lot of explanation text for each passage) but I’m loving this approach. Going slower to REALLY make sure I’m understanding the truths and promises that are in my bible has revealed a lot of great things in the last few months, and I can’t wait to keep going. Depending on how much time I have, I’ll often go and read a few chapters of another book of the bible to finish out my quiet time, just for fun. Right now I’m reading through 1 Samuel, and I just read the story about David and Goliath!

I hope this method of bible study seems interesting to you, and if so why don’t you go ahead and give it a try! If you aren’t a believer and don’t read the bible and somehow made it to the end of this post (hi you fantastic reader, you!) I hope it gives a little insight into what reading the bible can look like and maybe even why it’s done in the first place.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!