GIVE THANKS! (ALL YEAR ‘ROUND)

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So as the Thanksgiving holiday comes to a close many of us seem to forget about being thankful all year ’round (myself included). Sure we can give thanks for everything we’ve got on this one holiday but what about the 364 other days of the year? Now I know what you’re thinking: here comes the classic rant about being grateful blah blah blah. But instead of rolling your eyes and x-ing out of this post, take a couple minutes to let me share my thoughts with you!

Telling someone else to be thankful every day of the year is easy, but actually carrying out the task is quite hard. Not everyone experiences the same day as you do and not everyone goes through the same things in their life as you either. So instead of just telling you to list the things you’re thankful for and move on with your day I’m going to describe how to take your thankfulness a step further all the way past the holiday season.

First I tend to compile a list of things in thankful for, whether it’s in my mind or on paper. After that I think about why I’m thankful for each thing on my list, and pray about them each individually. Finally, I like to think about how each of the things I’m thankful for on my list affects my life as a whole. This usually helps me to remember to be grateful for them all year ’round. If I can visualize how they affect me, I tend to think about them more often!

So this is the method I use to stay thankful. Sometimes I find myself getting dragged down and not being thankful enough for what I have, so I will revisit my list and repeat the steps I listed above. And remember that there is no such thing as too much prayer, so keep praying for the Lord to help you be more thankful day to day.

“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4 // NIV Translation

Have a happy and blessed day after Thanksgiving and enjoy all the leftovers!     -Jordan

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ISAIAH 35:10

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“They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”       -Isaiah 35:10

Wowie I love this verse! It brings me such joy and really embodies the glory of the Lord and what we imagine Heaven will be like. So read on to hear my thoughts about this weeks verse.

First I will start by talking about the first little chunk of this verse. I love the fact that this verse starts out on such a positive note. Instead of something dreary and heavy it states that God’s people will enter Zion singing. The way that the joy of reaching Heaven (Zion) makes people feel is very apparent in this verse. These people were so overjoyed with the desire to live eternally with the Lord that they were singing! They weren’t scared or sad about leaving all their earthly things behind, they were joyous and singing wondrous praise.

The next two pieces of this verse focuses on the people’s everlasting joy. You will live in Heaven eternally if you choose to accept Jesus and walk beside Him. And this eternity will bring you an eternal joy. There will be no more worries about earthly things but instead your face will be turned to the Lord’s and a passionate and lively joy will surround you and crown you forever. And as the next part of the verse states, this very joy will overtake you and fill your heart up wholly.

Finally, for the last bit of this verse is the statement that when you do reach Heaven sorrow will flee. There will be nothing left but joy and love and happiness inside you. The worries and troubles of the world will no longer bog you down. Instead you can look to the Lord with full confidence that you never again will have to experience unhappiness and sadness that comes with just living life.

I truly think this verse embodies the outlook we should have during our weeks. We need to be joy seeking, Godly people that dispel the evils of this world. So during this week have an attitude of Zion, meaning let sadness and sighing evade you and joy crown your head for all to see.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving week filled with the attitude of Zion! -Jordan

HOMILETICS

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Homiletics is a technique used to break down passages of the Bible, and also my favorite way to study the Bible. The technique is fairly simple and involves only a few steps. Once you’ve found a passage you want to break down, follow these steps to homiletics success!

  1. SHRINK: Look at each verse in the passage separately and summarize the verse with a short sentence or a couple of words so that it still makes sense and has the same general context if someone else were to read it. Ex: 1 Corinthians 13:4-13
  2. DIVISIONS: Look over your shrinks and pick out one or two words that either appear often or are indirectly mentioned. Ex: love and God’s attributes
  3.  SUBJECT SENTENCE: Come up with one sentence that pulls together all your shrinks. Ex: Love stems directly from God and contains all of the attributes of the Lord.
  4. TRUTH: State a truth based on the two divisions you came up with. Ex: Love is the defense against the negativity in the world.
  5. APPLICATION: Using your summaries, divisions, subject sentence, and truth, compose a sentence stating how you can apply what the passage is talking about to your own life. Ex: I will use love as a defense against vindictive and negative people.

Homiletics is as simple as these five steps. I’m in the process of reading the Bible all the way through right now and I use this technique after reading a few chapters. I pick out a certain passage or a few verses that really standIMG_3136 IMG_3137 out to me, and break them down using this method. I happen to think it really helps me understand what I just read. I hope this will help you with your Bible studying and have a blessed day!                    -Jordan

P.S. Above you will find a homiletic I did on Ephesians 6: 13-18. Each dot after the shrinks follows the order of the steps listed above!

ISAIAH 30:12-14

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Today’s blog post will touch on the subject of sin as well as fulfill the weekly verse for this week!
“Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression, and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.” -Isaiah 30:12-14 // NIV Translation

I was reading my Bible last night (I am on a mission to read all the way through) and I stumbled across this set of verses. At first I passed by them and continued reading, but when it was time for me to stop and pick out a passage to break down and study, this was the one I came back to. I realized that these three verses were much more than a part of my nightly Bible reading sessions. How many times do we read scripture and nod our heads and think “that’s a great verse” but then never come back to it again? I can tell you I’ve done just that more than once or twice. But something was leading me back to these verses, making me think twice before reading them and then moving on.

We’ve all gotten the lectures and sermons and Veggie Tale reenactments of sin, but have we actually taken the time to step outside of those things and learn about sin for ourselves? So last night I decided to take the time and study this verse to do just that.

Every single person on this planet right now has fallen to sin at one time or another. It doesn’t matter if you are the most devoted Christian walking earth, we all sin! And in some ways this is enlightening knowing that you aren’t alone in your imperfect walk to Heaven, but this knowledge can also be disheartening. It’s like no matter what you do or how hard you try, you will still be subjected to sin. And that’s very true but instead of thinking about it in such a negative light, think on the fact that we have a god who’s grace is so wide and love to covering that He will forgive us even in our darkest moment of sin. Even when we can’t see through our mistakes, we can turn to the Lord and know that through His word and His everlasting sacrifice of His only son, we have been saved. So instead of rejecting His teachings and allowing sin to destroy us as these verses say it can, we need to instead turn to Him. To know that we have the strongest being in the entire universe (and far beyond that) on our side is something to rejoice about. And next time you are feeling bogged down by sin and feeling like you have nowhere to turn, remember what the Lord has done for us. Also, below is a quote I found online that is a nice reminder of the fact that with God’s love you will be wiped clean of your past transgressions.sin

Thank you so so much for reading and have a blessed rest of your Monday! -Jordan

 

PSALM 119:105

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Hi there! So for my first post I have decided to start with a weekly verse. I think this verse helps to sum up why we should read and cherish the word of God.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” -Psalm 119:105 // NIV Translation

I love what this verse embodies for us as Christians. It reminds us that God’s word is the one and only thing that will help to guide us on our path to living more like Christ. And as cliché as it sounds the Bible really is a light for our path: our path to an eternal life in Heaven. The only way into Heaven is to accept Jesus as your savior and to submerge into His word and live it out accordingly. And let’s be real here, reading the Bible is hard! The Bible contains a lot of heavy topics and sometimes it’s hard to sort through all the information you’re reading in order to pick out the main ideas. So to help you out I have compiled a short list of things I do/use to make my reading of the Bible both fun and meaningful.

  1. Read for short amounts of time as opposed to long sessions.
  2. Take notes, draw pictures, or talk things out with yourself.
  3. Participate in Bible studies or other group sessions to get a different perspective on passages or verses.
  4. After reading, pray and take a couple minutes of quiet to think about what you just read.
  5. Break down the verses into short bits to better understand the reading.
  6. Try out some different versions. Ones like NIV, ESV, and The Message are some easy to understand translations. Find one that fits you the best!

Thank you so much for reading and have a blessed day!                                                         –Jordan