Bible Study Tip #2 and a FREE Bible Study

By | Encouragement, General, Study the Bible | 46 Comments

Note from Kat: This post is written by monthly contributor Katie Orr.

ITA Katie Orr

Last month I introduced a new series of Bible study tips for the overwhelmed, tired, and really busy. This month I have another tip to share and a tool for you to put it into practice!

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A free (yes FREE!) 4-week Bible study.

I’ve put together a free 4-week Bible study just for you. This is designed for the really busy and overwhelmed who long to be in the Bible but just don’t seem to be able to make it work. I’ve been there, and know that sometimes you just need a bit of guidance and lots of grace.

This Bible study includes 3 days of work for each week which can be done in 5-10 minutes a day, with an option for additional days if you find you have more time.

Free Bible Study for the Overwhelmed

This study will be available here at Inspired to Action for a limited time as a free download. So, be sure to download your copy today! I’ve also made it available on Kindle for 99 cents. (Affiliate link)

The Abundant Living Bible study is still available for FREE for subscribers on my personal blog.

Bible Study Tip #2: Ask Good Questions

Really good Bible study comes down to asking good questions about the text. In this Abundant Living study I’ll introduce a way to study the Bible while reading with different “glasses” on, which is simply reading the verses with only one topic in mind. I have found there are three very important “glasses” to use, with which we can view the different layers in the Bible.

  • Truths
  • Promises
  • Commands

You can take a verse, passage, or even a book of the Bible and study it by using these glasses and we’ll put this method into practice this month through the Abundant Living Bible study.

Are you in an overwhelmed place? Does finding 5 minutes three times this week sound doable? Just click here to download the free Bible study and let me know in the comments that you are in. I hope you love it!

Miss tip #1 in this series? Catch it here.

About Katie 

Women's Bible StudyGrace-clinger. Truth-speaker.

Learn more about Katie on her website KatieOrr.me.

How Truth Affects Obedience

By | General, Study the Bible | 5 Comments

Therefore.

It is a powerful word.

There are some commands in Scripture that just seem crazy-hard.

Impossible, even.

Yet, this one little word — therefore — can bring great motivation; it provides the why behind the charge given.

If you pay attention to sections of Scripture with numerous commands, there is usually a previous section of great, life-changing truths.

Truths that carry the impossible into the realm of possible.

Bible Study 101 teaches us to pay attention to the context of each passage of Scripture we read. The commands given in 1 Peter 4:1-11 were not given in isolation, it is part of a whole, and the word “therefore” in verse one is a reminder of this fact.

So, what is this therefore there for?

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh… 1 Peter 4:1

In the last section we studied we learned of The Great Exchange; the beautiful, powerful transaction that occured on the cross when Jesus the righteous, glorious Christ took on the sins of the world, though He had never sinned.

…Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…  1 Peter 3:18

Since Christ suffered and died for the sin of mankind, we have great hope. It is only through His sacrifice we have access to a relationship with God, and only through Christ’s righteousness—given to us—do we have any hope toward obedience to the commands in Scripture.

Knowing that Christ has already suffered and paid the penalty I owed—and has been perfectly obedient on my behalf—is incredibly freeing.

The pressure is lifted—the pressure from performing, from the pursuit of perfection, and from the inevitable guilt when I fail.

All of our imperfection, exchanged for Christ’s perfection.

I’m so thankful for the therefore, aren’t you?

 

What commands stood out to you this week, in 1 Peter 4:1-11?

How does the therefore in verse 1 change your heart’s motivation behind obedience to these commands?

Come and share your thoughts, in the comments!

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On submission, beauty, and humility…or not.

By | Study the Bible | 11 Comments

This post was written by contributor Katie Orr.

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:1-5 ESV)

I have been stuck all week as to where to go with this post.

I could take a deeper look at the command to “be subject” to our husbands, and (for those of you who just got your feathers ruffled with the mention of submission) I might take note of the “likewise” here in this passage, in order to see the greater context of which this command is given, and the beauty of God’s plan for the marriage relationship.

For those of you who are married to an unbelieving husband, we could look at the great promise that God can use your respectful actions to bring your beloved husband to Christ.

There is always much to be learned from pulling out some Greek from the passage. Like, how “quiet” here is the Greek word hesucheos which literally means “peaceable” and “to keeps one’s seat.”  (Or, as I like to put it, the ability to sit down and shut up.) The Greek word for “adorning” is also pretty interesting, but I have already written a post on all of that, looking at some of the key words in 1 Peter 3, so you can just read it for yourself there.

Every truth, promise, and command in these verses is begging for its own post. But this is not what is on my heart for us today.

How we mis-use the Bible

My heart is heavy to implore us all to be careful not to read the Bible through the filter of what we want to hear.

It is so easy to make the Bible our own “spiritual Google”. When we are interested in a topic, we will go to the Word as our Wikipedia to learn a bit more. Or, we might be feeling “sick” spiritually, so we will look up a fix to our ailment, making the Bible our own spiritual WebMD.

The danger of using the Bible this way is that it is too easy to skip over the more difficult passages—like this one. If we’re not in the mood to get our toes stepped on, we can avoid the more command-laden passages. Convenient, huh?

I doubt that many of us are “google-ing” how to be a more submissive wife, posts on a humble spirit, or “how to sit down and shut up.” We’ve probably all spent more time and energy this week on the “adorning of the external” than the hidden person of the heart without even realizing it. Yet, our journey through 1 Peter has brought us here.

God has us in this passage, this week, for a reason.

So, whether you’ve been in this passage with us throughout the week, or are reading it for the first time, I ask that you would approach God’s Word to you as exactly that—His true, good, and perfect words to us.

His promises are not cute, little feel-good sayings to frame and put on our walls.

The commands of scripture are not given to be used as a self-improvement book.

The truths we see in the Bible are not to pick and choose from.

It is not up to us to decide what we take away from the Bible.

My prayer for us today is that we will be open to hear what God has for us, in each and every verse of His perfect Word to us.

My hope for you and I—this generation of Christian women—is to stop looking at the Bible as our own little road map for life, which we pull out of our glove-compartments when we are feeling the need for direction.

Instead let us treasure the Word as it is, our sustenance for living, source of daily direction and wisdom, and the strong foundation of our faith!

What are your thoughts on the role of God’s Word in your life? Are you guilty of picking and choosing what you want to hear from the Word? What is God speaking to you about, from these life-giving words in 1 Peter? Let us know in the comments.

About Katie
Jesus-lover. Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker. Auburn fan. Longs to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime. Co-author of Savoring Living Water: How to have an effective quiet time and author of Focused15 Bible studies. Creator of Do Not Depart where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word.

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HelloMornings

How To Find Hope In Trials

By | Study the Bible | 2 Comments

Bible study post written by contributor Katie Orr.

Last week Lara shared with us about the gift of trials, and their purpose in our lives. It is easy to say “amen, sister” when our kids are healthy, our marriage is perfect, and our bank accounts are full. But what happens when we find ourselves in the midst of our worst nightmare? How do we keep from walking away from our faith when trials come?

Hope can be hard to find.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children . . . be holy in all your conduct . . .  (1 Peter 1:13-15 ESV)

We studied 1 Peter 1:13-25 this week (are you studying with us? You can jump in anytime!), and in the midst of many commands there is one great promise that can be easily overlooked.

Do you see it? Go back and take a deeper look at verse 13 (it’s there . . . I promise!)

It is tucked right in the middle of a command to “set our hope”. Peter tells us what the object of our hope should be.

I have grace coming!

This is how I walk through the trial around the corner. This is how I will live a life of obedience—regardless of what may come.

Hope in the grace I am promised. 

God’s Word does not promise me a long life filled with health, wealth, and happiness—nor does He promise these things to our children—but it does promise me grace. I can be absolutely certain that the same grace that rescued me from spiritual death will carry me through the trials of this world to eternal safety.

Whether you are going through a difficult time, or are simply struggling to be obedient to the calling to “be holy”, there is hope! As we focus on the truths of all God has done, know the truths we find in His Word, and cling to the promises of His grace to come, we can have a great assurance that the road ahead is paved with grace, wherever it may take us.

What trial does the Lord have you in now? Do you have hope in the grace that is to come? How does God’s past faithfulness help embolden your faith today? Let’s chat in the comments.

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HelloMornings

 

 

 

About Katie
Jesus-lover. Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker. Auburn fan. Longs to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime. Co-author of Savoring Living Water: How to have an effective quiet time and author of Focused15 Bible studies. Creator of Do Not Depart where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word.

only the “necessary” trials

By | General, Study the Bible | 10 Comments

Seriously girls. This one will preach. I mean, really preach. Because life. is. hard.

You ready? If we are His, He will only allow the trials into our lives that are “necessary.” Girl, you crazy. No really. Look at what Peter says…

 

In this (gospel) you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7

 

(Be honest. Did you read or just skim that blockquote?)

If. Necessary!

I bank on this one, girls. I have to because our world throws too much blech at us. But just think, as His daughters, the enemies of God have to go through the Father to get to His sons and daughters. The enemy can’t do whatever he wants in our lives! (Remember Job?)

If we are His, then we can believe that the trial we’re walking isn’t arbitrary. It isn’t purposeless. But that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt.

Girls, some of the things that happen on this planet while we’re sojourning to our “rightful” place in Christ will grieve us. That word means “heaviness; to cause sorrow.” Some trials will feel like a weight; but they are not without purpose!

 

Love Letter
flickr photo credit

 

Dare I even take it a step further and suggest that the trial is a gift. I say that with a clenched jaw considering a personal trial I am currently treading through. The trial is a gift because we have to fully depend on the sufficiency of our God; and nothing in this life is sweeter than a firm faith in our Lord.

We are not at the mercy of the enemy’s schemes. The trials we face aren’t purposeless. As His daughters we will only go through that which He — the sovereign, all-knowing, lavishly-loving God — deems necessary. Nothing more. Nothing less. I’m telling you. That’ll preach.

For those doing the “Kept” study, what did you glean from this week’s look at Peter?

Let’s chat about it in the comments.

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HelloMornings

About Lara
Speaker and writer, Lara Williams lives in central North Carolina with her husband and three young children. Click here to check out her blog.

On Window Washing and Finding Unshakable Peace

By | HelloMornings Challenge, Study the Bible | 10 Comments

My Window Washer

My kids like to wash my windows.

I know. Pinch me. It’s glorious. And, no, I don’t rent them out.

One time, when my son (4) was washing the window he spent a good 5 minutes trying to get one spot clean.

Now you have to understand that in 4 year old time, 5 minutes is like… 3,018 YEARS.

He was determined to clean that one spot, but he was going about it all wrong. You see, he was cleaning the wrong side of the window.

The spot was on the inside. He was on the outside.

Did I Draw The Short Straw?

When I saw the writing assignments for the HelloMornings Bible Study posts, I thought, “Well, I drew the short straw!” (I’m so spiritual, I know… Pray for me.)

But really? I was assigned to write about the greeting and salutation of the book of 1 Peter. The greeting and salutation?

All I could think about was that “salutation” was one of the words that the spider spelled in Charlotte’s Web.

Clearly, you may need to prepare yourself for the depth of my Biblical commentary.

Getting To The Good Stuff

But, of course, in the end I was amazed as how much truth was contained in something so simple. In fact, the part that struck me the most was merely one line of text in the first verse.

“To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces…” 1 Peter 1:1

It’s like jumbo shrimp or stay-at-home mom – an oxymoron.

God’s elect? ….exiles…scattered…?

That doesn’t sound very “elect” to me, or at least not something I want to be elected to.

But then I remembered that the American Dream and God’s Dream are two very different things. He doesn’t want us to find our peace and security in our Norman Rockwell, white picket fence, instagram worthy, suburban homes.

He wants us to make our home in Him. He wants us to be unshakably secure, regardless of our situation, in His companionship and provision.

He wants us to surrender our pursuit of plastic pearls for His real ones.

Verse 13 goes on to say, “Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”

Where Peace Is Found

So wait…peace isn’t found in my perfectly organized home? Or in finally getting on top of the bills? Or in knowing exactly how to respond to my children? Or that “one thing” finally changing?

No.

In fact, our physical pursuit of peace and joy are the very things that keep us from it. Like trying to wash the wrong side of a dirty window.

Peace is never found in a place, but in a Person.*

Today, my prayer for you is that you would take time to know God and all the richness He has for you. To read His word, spend time in prayer as you walk through your day and and listen for His still small voice.

I pray that you’d spend more time on the right side of the window instead of just looking through it wishing for things to be different.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance…” 1 Peter 1:2

Were you reading along with us this week? What nugget did you glean? Click here to join the discussion.

*I’m pretty sure I heard/read Ann Voskamp say something like that so I’m just going to credit her for that lovely piece of alliteration.

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KEPT by the power of God {1 Peter Study}

By | Encouragement, General, Study the Bible | 11 Comments

An old sign hung in my parent’s house for years. Growing up, I never understood what it meant, or what it was for. All I knew is that it also had also hung in my great-grandparent’s home, and it reminded my dad of his fun summer vacation days visiting their Kentucky home.

“Kept by the power of God.”

I assumed it meant something good, but after being immersed in 1 Peter for months, I get it.

I am kept; all I am, all I have, and I will be hinges on one thing.

God’s power.

This week in our study, we read through the book of 1 Peter. What a rich set of verses! As we fly over the book for a bird’s eye view, here are a few themes we will all discover together over the weeks to come. What rich truths we have to claim!

Here are four transformational truths weaved throughout the book of 1 Peter. All of these truths are dependent on the power of God in our lives!

Keep focused on Christ.

Life is hard. Scripture promises it will be harder for those who follow Christ, but I have not been sent into the fire alone.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21 ESV)

Jesus is my example of how to walk through any fire my loving Father allows. Even though Christ desired to avoid unnecessary suffering, He chose to walk into the fire, confident it was His Father’s good plan.

The Father knew best; the son obeyed perfectly.

Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus.

Eternal security is possible.

In a world full of broken promises and shattered dreams, it is hard to imagine any sort of commitment lasting for eternity. There is much debate—even in Christian circles—as to whether or not a covenantal relationship with God can be broken.

We won’t get very far in our study before we hear Peter’s heart on this.

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is IMPERISHABLE, UNDEFILED, and UNFADING, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV)

I am chosen. An adopted child of God. Royalty. That can’t be undone!

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:29 ESV)

I am kept safely in His powerful hands.

Persevere through the race.

Endurance to the end of this difficult race of obedient living is proof of the keeping power of God in my life. Not because I am the super-Christian, but because He has enabled me to finish this race well. Even when I am weary and want to give up, His strong hands keep me like a parent keeping their little one safely on the swing.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded . . . by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:7,11 ESV)

Perseverance doesn’t mean I never stumble and fall, it means I get up—by the strength that God supplies—and start running again!

Tell of God’s glory through obedient living.

I have choices to make. These choices do not lead to my salvation—I am already eternally secure in Christ, remember? But if my life looks no different next year than it does today there is a problem.

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct…”(1 Peter 1:14-15 ESV)

I must remember I am still on this earth for a purpose—to make God known through reflecting His holiness! The way I live my life, raise my children, love my husband, and serve my community is all an opportunity to show off the holiness of Christ and the power of His work in my life.

 

Do you believe you are eternally secure in Christ?

Are you going through a difficult time and need to refocus your eyes on Christ?

Did you read 1 Peter this week? What did you see in your “fly over” of the book?

Let’s chat in the comments!

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HelloMornings

About Katie
Jesus-lover. Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker. Auburn fan. Longs to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime. Co-author of Savoring Living Water: How to have an effective quiet time and author of Focused15 Bible studies. Creator of Do Not Depart where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word.

For When We’re Desperate For His Grace…Again

By | General, HelloMornings Challenge, Study the Bible | 9 Comments

Some days — lots of days — my head hits the pillow and I confess that same sin. It’s that thing I despise in myself — that response to my sweet yet trying kids, or that look I give, or that impatience I harbor. Pick one. Over and over in moments of this daily living choosing not to reflect His love.

That’s when I’m desperate for His grace. That’s when I realize — again — how needy I am for His mercy upon mercy upon mercy. Because left to me I chase after my feelings and rebel from the One who loves me most.

 

 

We’re a needy people. And I think that’s the point. That’s the realization that frees us. Once we truly grasp our depravity in light of His unmatched holiness, we’re ready to receive His grace.

I think that’s what Jesus was revealing to Peter through his three denials. Peter — this proud fisherman who swore he’d never leave his Lord — boldly denied three times, “I don’t know that Jesus.” He was needy for grace. But really, aren’t we all?

Every moment of every day He pours out His grace on His children. He nailed the punishment we deserve to a splintery cross. Now He says, “Whatever you do again today and again today and again today, my child, by faith in Christ Jesus, I call you righteous.”

 

Righteous.

 

That doesn’t mean we keep rebelling and denying. Rather we bow, humbled before a merciful God.

The depths of Christ’s grace transformed Peter’s life. The truth of God’s mercy overwhelmed him to the point where he confessed, “I cannot help but speak of my Lord. I can’t help it.”

Whatever mommy-sin we commit again today, Jesus already took that punishment. Whatever wife-sin we commit again today, He already took it. Whatever daughter-sister-friend-sin we commit again today, He already took it.

Girlfriend, that’s dance worthy.
How have you experienced His grace after grace in your own life?

For those doing the “Kept” study, what did you glean from this week’s look at Peter?

Let’s chat about it in the comments.

 

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HelloMornings

About Lara
Speaker and writer, Lara Williams lives in central North Carolina with her husband and three young children. Click here to check out her blog.

HelloMornings Bible Study Update!

By | Compassion, Study the Bible | No Comments

Download Issue Resolved

We had some technical issues yesterday with the Bible Study download. Everything is working now, though, so go ahead and get your copy of the study.

You can download the Love Like Him Study by clicking here and the Focused15 study by clicking here

They will be available for free through Monday the 14th.

Compassion Bloggers In Tanzania

Compassion Bloggers: Tanzania 2012Also, the Compassion Bloggers are in Tanzania this week.

The stories are AMAZING. Go read them here!

Announcing the HelloMornings Study: Love Like Him

By | HelloMornings Challenge, Study the Bible | 15 Comments

Update: You can download the Love Like Him Study by clicking here and the Focused15 study by clicking here. They will be available for free through Monday the 14th.

Note: We are having an issue with our download provider. We are looking into it and will update when the PDF’s are available again. Thanks for your patience!

We are thrilled to announce the summer HelloMornings Bible study!

Love Like Him: Learn to Love Like Jesus

If I write pretty things or say “amen” to a sermon but miss the love part played out in the messiest of relationships, then I miss everything…

…Jesus-like love births out of the difficult. It dies for those hurling insults. It prays for those who accuse us. It crucifies the self-life and esteems others higher…

…when His love begins to blossom in what should be desolate ground—desolate relationships—we see Jesus. We catch a glimpse of His pure and perfect love. –Love Like Him

Love Like Him is an 8-week Bible study on love which points us to Christ and what it looks like to live out His love in our own lives. Based on the method taught in the book Savoring Living Water: How to Have an Effective Quiet Time, we will walk through several places in Scripture together. This study is designed to teach you about the love of Christ, but it will also train you how to study the Bible on your own, along the way!

We hope you’ll join us this summer on this journey toward loving like Jesus.

The summer session starts on Monday, May 14th, and we already have over 760 (and counting!) joining in the early-morning fun! You can find more details about the challenge and register here to join us.

Other Options for the Summer Bible Study:

  • If you are already in the middle of a study or feel led to something different, you are welcome to continue in that. You don’t have to do the Love Like Him study to be a part of the HelloMornings challenge!
  • Many of you have been involved with HelloMornings for a while now, and have gone through many of the studies offered for the challenge. If so, you may be ready and waiting for a way to dig even deeper into the Bible. We’ve designed this summer challenge for you to use the Love Like Him study alongside of the Focused15: 1 Corinthians 13 study.

How do I know which study to choose?

  • If you are new to studying your Bible, trying to get into the routine of regular time in the Word, or are limited to only 10 minutes a day you’ll want to stick with the Love Like Him Bible study.
  • If you have a bit more experience with Bible study, are ready to learn how to dig deeper in to the study, and have more time than 10 minutes a day, then the Focused15 study on 1 Corinthians 13 will be a good fit for you. Focused15 will take you through the first 4 weeks of the summer challenge; then you can finish up with the rest of the group with weeks 5-8 of the Love Like Him study. (Side note: the Focused15 study is designed to be done in 15 minutes a day, with room to grow for those who have more time than that.)

Put even simpler:

  • Love Like Him is more of a “beginners” study.
  • Focused15 is more of an “intermediate” approach to studying your Bible.
  • Each of the studies “match” in that everyone will study the same passages each week, just at a different levels.

Cool, huh?!

FREE Bible Studies!!

For the next week (through May 14th), the PDF versions of both of these studies will be FREE, just for you!

Go here to download the Love Like Him study as a PDF.

Go here to download the Focused15: 1 Corinthians 13 study as a PDF.

Both of these studies are also available on Kindle, and will be on sale for 99 cents through next Tuesday.

Get Love Like Him for Kindle. Get Focused 15 for Kindle.

 

We can’t wait to dig into the Word with you this summer! What has been one of your favorite Bible studies you’ve done in the past? What are your study plans for the summer?