More Than a Song - Michelle Nezat on MOR Music Podcasts
More Than a Song - Michelle Nezat More Than a Song - Michelle Nezat More Than a Song is a weekly podcast dedicated to helping you discover the truth of Scripture hidden in today's popular Christian music. Each episode teaches you to connect portions of God's Word with the songs you are singing along with on the radio; to help you meditate on Truths that will transform your way of thinking and ultimately your life. Programs

Episodes

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    May 3, 2021 #374: "You Are My Vision" by Rend Collective

    From time to time, I enjoy a few (or a bag) of Oreos. While they are enjoyable, they are not nourishing. The hymns of old are full of rich nourishing doctrines that help form a strong foundation for the believer. This week I use Rend Collective's rendition of "You Are My Vision," a classic hymn versified by Eleanor Hull in 1912. Join me as I uncover the Scriptural recipe for a nourishing meal at the table of God. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read in several translations Review the section headings The 30 Day Music Challenge The history of hymns in my own life How light on doctrine much of Christian music can be these days A verse on vision - Proverbs 29:18 Making connections with God's Word in such a way that you SEE what God is teaching Focusing on finding connections to the point where you train yourself to see them Casting aside our own plan for Christ alone - Proverbs 19:21 God's presence my light - Psalm 27:1 God as the only source of wisdom - Proverbs 2:6 "You dwell inside me, together we're one" - 1 Timothy 1:14 The Lord is our inheritance - Deuteronomy 18:2, 1 Peter 2:9 Finding the Scripture we're looking for by searching for a phrase and typing "Scripture" at the end of our search Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com   Weekly Challenge You can go back to these Scriptures and link them to what you’re singing about in “Be Thou My Vision.” Perhaps you need a place to sit for a while. Psalm 16 is a really good place. It talks about God alone being our portion/inheritance just like our hymn.


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    April 26, 2021 #373: "Image of God” by We Are Messengers

    There are foundational truths found in Scripture that we may not question but may not be able to defend. In their song, "Image of God," We Are Messengers sings of a truth that has a profound impact on our daily lives. Let's gain a Biblical perspective on being made in the image of God in our study this week. In this week's episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore a topic Utilize outside resources Read in context The 30 Day Music Challenge Systematically poring over Scripture as it relates to a topic Using a resource like Wayne Grudem's "Systematic Theology" as an outside resource to guide your study Additional resources I used in my study prep for this episode: "The Image of God - An Approach from Biblical and Systematic Theology" - DesiringGod.org Article "Tim Keller on the Image of God" - Focus on the Family Article "3 Reasons We Must Preach on the Image of God" - Lifeway Research Article "What it Means to be 'Made in the Image of God'" - Focus on the Family Article "In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character" - Book by Jen Wilkin "God and the Transgender Debate" - Book by Andrew Walker God's creation was VERY GOOD - Genesis 1:31 God's creative brilliance climaxes with humanity - Genesis 1:26-29 God is the master artist that brought humanity to life Imago Dei is Latin for "image of God" We were created to glorify God - Isaiah 43:1-7 God retains ownership over our lives - Psalm 24:1-2 In the fall, God's image is distorted, but not lost - Genesis 9:6 Even though marred by sin, humans retain enough of God's image to be described as "made in the likeness of God" - James 3:9 Even though God retains authority, we like to make our own plans - Ecclesiastes 7:29 As Christ followers we set our feet on the path of image-bearing renewal - 2 Corinthians 3:18 When Jesus returns, the transformation will be complete - 1 John 3:2 Because we are image bearers our time in God's Word is crucial to know Him and thereby be able to represent God to a lost and dying world "God is Designer and Creator. The earth and everything in it are His. Therefore, He gets to set the plans and directions for our lives." Additional Resources Lyrics - New Release Today An acoustic version of "Image of God" featuring Vince Gill - YouTube Video "The Image of God - An Approach from Biblical and Systematic Theology" - DesiringGod.org Article "Tim Keller on the Image of God" - Focus on the Family Article "3 Reasons We Must Preach on the Image of God" - Lifeway Research Article "What it Means to be 'Made in the Image of God'" - Focus on the Family Article "In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character" - Book by Jen Wilkin "God and the Transgender Debate" - Book by Andrew Walker Weekly Challenge Read the first two chapters of Genesis and really focus on how God created humankind in the beginning. Utilize some of the outside resources (both free articles and books you may want to purchase) to explore what it means to be created in the image of God. Read the Scripture references in the show notes above in context and ponder how our image-bearing fits into the truths found in these various sections of Scripture. If you want to focus on a larger chunk of Scripture, consider 1 John 3 as it dials into the conduct that should be evident in the life of a believer made in God's image who represents God to the world.


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    April 19, 2021 #372: "Living Hope" by Phil Wickham

    Stale. Fake. Dead. Dying. Faded. Worthless. Delusional. There are all kinds of hope in this world, but believers in Christ are born again into a living hope. Phil Wickham's song "Living Hope" leads us straight to Scripture where we discover that a Living God gives us a Living Hope through a Living Savior. The original recipients of 1 Peter needed assurance of their living hope as they were suffering greatly. Let's explore it together. In this week's episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Read an introduction to the entire book of the Bible you are studying Consult outside resources Make a list The 30 Day Music Challenge "The Lord is My Strength and My Song" Women's Conference - More Information An introduction and outline of 1 Peter by J Vernon McGee - PDF of notes and outline Reading all the way through 1 Peter The theme of 1 Peter - the Christian hope in the time of trial J Vernon McGee teachings on 1 Peter - BlueLetterBible.com The Living God, our Living Hope, through our Living Savior - 1 Peter 1:3-5 God's call not to follow the culture - Jeremiah 10:3-5 Jeremiah's response calling God the living God - Jeremiah 10:10 Making a list of the characteristics of the manmade idols vs. God's characteristics in Jeremiah 10 Our living hope comes after being born again - John 3:5-8 Our living Savior Who bore our sins - 1 Peter 2:24 The description of our living hope - 1 Peter 1:4-5 Our proper response to the gift of our living hope - 1 Peter 1:13-16 Our conduct reflecting our living hope - 1 Peter 1:22-23 It is through Christ we believe in God - 1 Peter 1:21 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship The Story Behind the Song "Living Hope" by Phil Wickham - Essential Worship Weekly Challenge First, if you’ve never been born again…place your faith and hope in God through Jesus, your living Savior. Then read 1 Peter. I think you’ll be surprised at the suffering it reveals…all the more need for a living hope. Read Jeremiah 10 for a snapshot of the effectiveness (rather ineffectiveness) of our false idols and the worthiness of our living God. Review the introductions to these books, interact with God’s Word as you read, and consult tried and true outside resources to shed even more light on what you’re reading.


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    April 12, 2021 #371: "Stand My Ground” by Zach Williams

    Are you in need of a fight song these days? The struggle is real, but it's not against who you might think. "Stand My Ground," a new song by Zach Williams is a great anthem for your playlist, but it points to truths more meaningful than any lyric. Let's learn how to stand our ground and observe a man in the Old Testament standing his ground. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Reading in context Completing a word study Mark up the text Journal your thoughts Read in a variety of translations Make a list Use a reading plan (outside resource) The 30 Day Music Challenge Focusing on standing our ground against the devil - Ephesians 6:10-18 Friday with Friends on Michelle Nezat TV - YouTube Channel Seeing "stand" mentioned three times in 10 verses - BibleHub.com How a key part of the devil's "scheme" is to convince us our battle is against people How we are called to stand, stand, stand and pray, pray, pray in Ephesians 6:10-18 A reading plan about Daniel and his friends taking a stand - YouVersion Reading Plan The book of Daniel in one sentence - OverviewBible.com Daniel taking a stand because of his resolve - Daniel 1 Daniel taking a stand and praying (and recruiting his friends to pray, too) - Daniel 2 Reading Scripture before commentary Additional Resources Lyrics - NewReleaseToday.com Story Behind the Song "Stand My Ground" by Zach Williams - YouTube Video YouVersion Reading Plan Weekly Challenge Spend some time in Ephesians 6 learning about the armor of God with the focus on standing your ground against the enemy. Read this section of Scripture repetitively and interact with it in new ways. Then consider reading about Daniel and his friends in the first few chapters of the book of Daniel with the focus on how they stood their ground.


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    April 5, 2021 #370: "Isaiah 53” by Aaron Shust

    We spend a lot of time celebrating Jesus at Christmastime. Easter doesn't have as much secular fanfare, and one reason may be because Easter forces us to answer hard questions about who Jesus is and who we are. In fact, Aaron Shust's song "Isaiah 53" leads us to an important section of ancient Scripture that forces us to answer those questions. Let's study the ancient prophecy written by Isaiah 700 years before Christ fulfilled its words. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Meditation Follow the cross-references Consult various translations The 30 Day Music Challenge Our focus Scripture for the week - Isaiah 52:13-Isaiah 53:12 The Mysterious Prophecy of Isaiah 53 by Michael Rydelnik - RightNowMedia.org How the interaction between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch confirms this Scripture is about Jesus - Acts 8:26-40 How God revealed to Peter that Jesus is the Messiah (and Jesus confirms it) - Matthew 16:15-17 John the Baptist prophesying that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb - John 1:29 Unpacking the focus Scripture verse by verse with cross-references Isaiah 52:13 - Jesus is exalted - Philippians 2:9 Isaiah 52:14 - crucifixion is disfiguring Isaiah 52:15 - we will be sprinkled clean - Ezekiel 36:25-27 Isaiah 53:1 - explained in John 12:37-43 Isaiah 53:2 - Jesus was a common man - John 1:46, John 6:42 Isaiah 53:3 - Jesus was rejected - John 1:11 Isaiah 53:4 - Jesus was thought to be rejected by God because of false claims of divinity - John 19:7 Isaiah 53:5 - it was our sin he died for - Romans 4:25 Isaiah 53:6 - we've all sinned - Romans 3:23, 1 Peter 2:25 Isaiah 53:7 - Jesus remained silent - Matthew 26:63 Isaiah 53:8 - read in the New Living Translation Isaiah 53:9 - Jesus died between two wicked men and was buried in a rich man's tomb - Mark 15:27, Matthew 27:57-60 Isaiah 53:10 - it was God's plan before the foundation of the world - Revelation 13:8 Isaiah 53:11 - we are justified through Christ - Romans 5:18-19 Isaiah 53:12 - Jesus bore our sin - 2 Corinthians 5:21 Christ's sacrifice happened once, and he will appear again to bring salvation to those waiting for Him - Hebrews 2:28 Additional Resources Lyrics The Mysterious Prophecy of Isaiah 53 by Michael Rydelnik - RightNowMedia.org Isaiah 53 TALK (w/ Rabbi Ken) by Aaron Shust - YouTube Video Why Isaiah 53 is Important by Aaron Shust - YouTube Video Weekly Challenge Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Then read it again. Consider how Jesus has fulfilled this prophecy through your own understanding of Scripture. Use the cross-references listed in the show notes above to get you started. Finally, read the account of the last days of Christ on earth in Matthew 26-28 or one of the other gospels. Take in the entire picture and rejoice that our iniquity has been paid for by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, and our eternity is secure through his victory over death in resurrection power.


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    March 29, 2021 #369: "Who Could” by Meredith Andrews

    There is a critical question posed by an imposing angel in the throne room of God described in the book of Revelation, "Who is worthy to open the scroll?" Meredith Andrew's song "Who Could" reminds us of this question, and the apostle John transports us through vivid imagery. Visit the throne room of God with me this week on the podcast. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Listen to epic music while reading epic scenes in Scripture Read and keep on reading Meditation Ask questions Mark up the text Follow the cross-references Complete a word study Consult an outside resource The 30 Day Music Challenge My interview with Vince Wright and his resources at TheBereanTest.com - YouTube Video Listening to epic music while reading epic scenes, I used a track from unminus.com under a portion of Scripture this week Tips for reading Revelation from an outside resource - "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart Tips for reading apocalyptic literature in the Bible - Blog with Video Marking up the text using the Illustrated Scripture Journal - Amazon Link Getting answers to some of my questions - GotQuestions.org Picturing the scene in the throne room of heaven - Revelation 4:1-11 The 24 elders casting their crowns before the throne - Revelation 4:10 Imperishable crown - 1 Corinthians 9:25 Spiritual children - Philippians 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:19 Crown of life - James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 Crown of righteousness - 2 Timothy 4:8 Crown of glory - 1 Peter 5:4 Lord (Kurios) as a master and person exercising absolute ownership rights - BibleHub.com God (Theos) as the supreme Creator who owns and sustains all things - BibleHub.com Allowing Scripture to roll around in your mind a bit (also known as meditating on Scripture) Pondering the extreme emotional response of John in Revelation 5:4 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - EssentialWorship.com Behind The Song "Who Could" by Meredith Andrews - New Release Today Article by Kevin Davis "5 Tips for Reading Apocalyptic Literature in the Bible" - Zondervan Academic Blog and Video Weekly Challenge Read the book of Revelation for yourself. Consider the literary context as you read so that you don't fall into the trap of misreading the text. Sit awestruck at the sight of the whole before inspecting the parts. Immerse yourself in the throne room scene and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal just how worthy the Lion and Lamb is of our praise.


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    March 22, 2021 #368: "Jesus Is Coming Back” by Jordan Feliz

    Sometimes we need a good reminder that this world is not our home. As Jordan Feliz sings about, there is a day coming when "Jesus Is Coming Back!" Knowing this should lead to eager anticipation in our lives and give us hope. Join me this week as we explore God's Word to learn all about the return of Christ. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Exploring a topic Utilizing outside resources Read in context Share with a friend Compare and contrast The 30 Day Music Challenge Exploring a topic in God's Word Defining systematic theology - RC Sproul Video A C.S. Lewis quote about theology - "If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones -- bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas." Transitioning from an "I think" approach to a "the Bible says" approach Utilizing a systematic theology resource to gather Scriptures on the topic of the return of Christ - "Systematic Theology" by Wayne Grudem The multi-verse retrieval resource at BlueLetterBible.org That there will be a sudden, visible, personal, bodily return of Christ Copy and paste the list of verses below into the multi-verse retrieval box at BlueLetterBible.org Matthew 24:44; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess 4:16; Heb 9:28; James 5:8; 2 Pet 3:10; 1 John 3:2; Rev 22:20; Rev 1:7 That we should eagerly long for Christ's return Titus 2:12-13; Phil 3:20; 1 Cor 16:22; Matt 24:44 That we do not know when Christ will return Matt 24:44; Matt 25:13; Mark 13:32-33 That Christ could come at any time Matt 24:42-44; Matt 24:36-39; Matt 24:50; Matt 25:13; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:40; 1 Cor 16:22; Phil 3:30; 1 Thess 5:2; Titus 2:12-13; Hebrews 10:25; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 4:7; Rev 1:3; Rev 22:7; Rev 22:12; Rev 22:20 The A.W. Tozer quote regarding over and underemphasizing Scripture - "Lack of balance in the Christian life is often the direct consequence of overemphasis on certain favorite texts, with a corresponding underemphasis on other related ones." Studying these truths with a friend - Hebrews 10:25 Being on the lookout for direction in Scripture as to how we are to respond to the truth that Jesus is coming back! Additional Resources Lyrics - NewReleaseToday.com Devotional article using "Jesus Is Coming Back" as inspiration - New Release Today Article "What Is Theology" by RC Sproul - Ligonier Ministries Video "The Second Coming of Christ" | Billy Graham Classic {Note: Don't watch this until AFTER you study Scripture for yourself! It will mean so much more!} - YouTube Video Weekly Challenge Grab the verses in the show notes above and use them as a launching point to read them in context, learning all you can about what the Bible says about the return of Jesus Christ our Lord. While you're in these larger sections of Scripture, be on the lookout for how we are to respond to this truth that Jesus is coming soon.


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    March 15, 2021 #367: "Battle Belongs” by Phil Wickham

    There was a national crisis, and the king didn't know what to do. At that moment, the king had choices. He could turn to his own wisdom, to the advisors of those around him, or any number of places for advice. In the Scripture inspired by Phil Wickham's song "Battle Belongs," the king chose to seek the Lord. May we follow his example...well, mostly. Let's read the whole account of King Jehoshaphat's crisis in 2 Chronicles 20 and then read past it to see "the rest of the story." In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Storying Sharing with a friend Compare and contrast Remembering the people described in the Bible were REAL Prayer Praying Scripture The 30 Day Music Challenge Heading over to 2 Chronicles 20 for the week How I've used this area of Scripture in previous episodes - Episode 151 and Episode 305 Watching Phil Wickham take the BITE of "storying" this video - YouTube Video Not letting the "tweetable" verses in 2 Chronicles 20 distract from internalizing this Scripture Watching the king and his people go from a crisis to fear, to trust, to worship, to victory, to rest The difference between descriptive and prescriptive texts in Scripture - GotQuestions.org Article Using Scripture to shape the wording of our prayers How reading the "rest of the story" reminds us to finish well 2 Chronicles 20:33 Matthew 24:13 Colossians 1:21-23 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship The Story Behind the Writing of the Song "The Battle Belongs" - YouTube Video The Biblical Story Behind the Song "The Battle Belongs" - YouTube Video A critical thinking review of the lyrics testing for Biblical accuracy - TheBereanTest.com A discussion about the difference between prescriptive and descriptive Scripture - GotQuestions.org Article Weekly Challenge Become so familiar with the account in 2 Chronicles 20 that you can retell the story to others. The best way to practice this is with a friend. It will take some time and repetition, but it will be worth it! To get the full context of King Jehoshaphat's reign, you might even back up in 2 Chronicles to the beginning of his story -- or even go further back and take in his father's story. We all know how our heritage can shape us. Learn from Jehoshaphat and remember that the battle for your soul belongs to the Lord -- He has already won the victory!


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    March 8, 2021 #366: "Christ Be Magnified” by Cody Carnes

    As a Christ-follower, it is my privilege to make much of God. My feelings, thoughts, and life should reflect Him and give evidence of His supreme greatness. That is, my life should magnify Christ, just like Cody Carnes sings about in his song "Christ Be Magnified?" Paul talks about magnifying Christ in his letter to the Philippians. Let's explore that a little deeper together. On this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Listen to an audio version of the text Read the envelope Historical context Consulting an outside resource Follow the cross-reference Read in a variety of translations Define words The 30 Day Music Challenge The inspirational verse - Philippians 1:20 Reading Philippians like a letter (because that's what it is) Reading the envelope to discover who the letter was written to, who it is from, and when and where it came from Consulting a trusted outside resource for the historical background - "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Gordon and Fee Gaining historical insight into the church at Philippi by reading Acts 15:35-Acts 17:1 The advancement of the gospel - Philippians 1:12 Ways the gospel advanced - Philippians 1:14-17 Paul's response - Philippians 1:18-19 The severity of Paul's situation and his emotional state How Paul was subject to being formed by feelings and his "eager expectation" This time in prison is a deeply personal and trying time for Paul. It is exacerbated by the evil of others, and it is sprinkled with hope by the advancement of the gospel and the love and support of his friends and the Holy Spirit.   Additional Resources Lyrics, chords, song story, etc. - WorshipTogether.com "Is Christ Be Magnified Biblical" - TheBereanTest.com   Weekly Challenge Read all of Paul's letter to the Philippians. Focus in on Philippians 1:12-30 (some of which we did not get to on the podcast) and discover what magnifying Christ in our body looks like to Paul. Use the BITEs we talked about on the podcast to interact with Scripture, including heading over to Acts to understand the foundation of the church at Philippi (the original audience of this letter). And may Paul's experience be yours as well -- may the prayers of your friends and the power of the Holy Spirit uphold you in your darkest times.


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    March 1, 2021 #365: "Shattered" by Blanca

    I dropped a glass casserole lid on my tile kitchen floor the other day. It shattered into a host of small pieces. I'm still finding pieces of glass here and there. There's a difference between being broken and shattered. Shattered seem so irreparable. In Blanca's song "Shattered" she reminds us that the task of putting the shattered pieces back together is not too big for God. Scripture offers many examples of shattered lives that God touches. We'll look at one example together this week. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Make observations Ask questions Consult a map Remembering the people described in the Bible were real Consult section headings Read in a variety of translations Make a list Define words The 30 Day Music Challenge How we can comfort others because of our own experiences - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 The daily practice of being washed in the Word as an act of worship - Ephesians 5:26-27 The story of the widow of Nain - Luke 7:11-17 Asking questions like, "Soon after what?" and "Where did he come from?" Looking up the towns mentioned in God's Word on a map...or even Google earth (after all, they are real places, and many still exist today) Picturing the crowd with Jesus and the crowd with the widow Defining a bier while considering the funeral customs of the day Making a list of the people depicted in this short story REALLY looking at the widow of Nain and considering the shattered pieces of her story Coming face to face with how Jesus RESPONDED He saw her He had compassion for her He spoke to her He came up to the bier He touched the bier He spoke to the dead man He gave him to his mother The Japanese art of Kintsugi - Lifegate Article Weekly Challenge Read Luke 7 for yourself. You might even take the challenge of reading in context — reading chapters 6 through 8 for yourself. Take a close look at Jesus in these stories. Identify the characteristics of your Savior that you may have glossed over in the past. Interact with the Word! Make observations, write them in lists, look up words you don’t understand, and enjoy your time being washed with the water of the Word.


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    February 22, 2021 #364: "Anyhow" by Tye Tribbett

    What does it mean to live by faith? I'm not sure there's a simple answer to that question, but one practice may provide evidence. Tye Tribbett sings about it in his song "Anyhow" -- trusting and praising God no matter what comes our way. Let's explore the life and times of a prophet whose complaint to God could have been written this morning, and whose prayer we can mimic in our own lives. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Read and keep on reading Repetition Consult an overview Follow the cross-reference Our circumstances can cloud our view of God - "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby An introduction to the prophet Habakkuk Habakkuk's "hallelujah anyhow" conclusion - Habakkuk 3:17-19 How we "need to appreciate how {Habakkuk's conclusion} derives from a serious engagement with the issues of God's justice if {we} are to appreciate just how radical it is." - ESV Expository Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Volume 7) Getting our bearings with a brief introduction to the book of Habakkuk - BlueLetterBible.org Gaining clarity through a deeper overview - TheBibleProject.com Habakkuk's complaint that could have been written today - Habakkuk 1:2-4 God's astounding response - Habakkuk 1:5-11 Habakkuk's concern with how God's response seems opposed to His character - Habakkuk 1:12-13 God's introduction to the phrase "the righteous will live by faith" - Habakkuk 2:2-4 Following the cross-references Romans 1:16-17 Galatians 3:2-3, 11 Hebrews 10:32-39 If God chooses to answer in a way that doesn't seem right to us, may we live by faith and sing hallelujah anyhow, trusting in our faithful God. Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Songs - Tye Tribbett - YouTube Video (start at 28:30 to hear specifically about "Anyhow" Weekly Challenge Read the entire book of Habakkuk (all three chapters) several times. Then watch an overview video or read the introduction in your study Bible. Identify the comparisons to our own time and carefully observe how God replies. Track down the cross-references we mentioned in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. Finally, spend some time internalizing Habakkuk’s conclusion — singing hallelujah anyhow.


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    February 15, 2021 #363: "Look No Further" by Evvie McKinney

    There are a lot of solutions offered in the world today. Unfortunately, most worldly solutions don't identify the root problem -- sin. In her song "Look No Further," Evvie McKinney reminds us that we don't have to look any further than Jesus for the salvation we seek. Her response of "look no further than Jesus" feels like an answer to a question posed in Scripture. Join me as we take a closer look at the life of John the Baptist and a key question he asks from prison. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Remember the people described in the Bible were real Ask questions of the text Explore the cross-references Read with friends The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Looking in all the wrong places to find hope John's question to Jesus - Matthew 11:3 Understanding John's history by reading/studying Luke 1 Zechariah's prophecy over John - Luke 1:76-80 Learning even more about John the Baptist's ministry in Matthew 3 John was set apart John was different John was bold John knew his purpose The context of what was going on in the ministry of Jesus between being baptized by John and John's imprisonment Pondering why John may have asked the question in Matthew 11:3 Reading the cross-references related to Jesus' response to John's question Isaiah 19:18-19 Isaiah 35:5-6 Isaiah 61:1 Isaiah 8:11-15 Jesus responds with Scripture to encourage John to "look no further." He is the promised one. The key for John here is that he must know the Scripture to be encouraged by it. Weekly Challenge Read Matthew 11 and let it inspire you to explore all of the Scriptures related to John the Baptist in both the New and Old Testaments. Then go back to John's question to ponder how such a man of God could end up in such a season of doubt. But don't ponder alone! Enlist a friend to study this with you to broaden your perspective.


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    February 8, 2021 #362: "Patiently Praising (feat. Lowell Pye)" by Fred Jerkins

    As our trust in the Lord grows, our patience grows. We can rest in His timing because we can point to God's faithfulness over and over again in the accounts recorded in His Word. Not only that, but we have our own experiences we can point to in our own lives. Fred Jerkins' song "Patiently Praising" not only points us to promises we can cling to in Scripture but serves as a challenge in our own lives to praise while we await a resolution to painful parts of our lives. I didn't have to look any further than specific references to Scripture right in the song to get inspired to dive into God's Word. Join me! In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Repetition Write out Scripture by hand Ask questions of the text Utilize outside resources Internalize Scripture (often known as memorization) Consult various translations Read with friends The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Spending a good deal of time discovering what the Bible actually says before jumping to meaning and application The lyric in the song that led me to Psalm 34:19 Internalizing God's Word by committing it to memory Keith Ferrin's quote, "The goal isn't to know the words. It's the know the Word." - "How To Enjoy Reading Your Bible" by Keith Ferrin Studying Psalm 34 verse by verse Reading the account in 1 Samuel 21:10-15 that the psalm declares was the inspiration for David's words Recognizing that the psalm was written as an acrostic, with each verse beginning with a subsequent letter of the Hebrew alphabet Seeing the theme of affliction throughout the psalm Referring to our study of this psalm in Episode 358 Discovering potential answers to our questions of the text through commentaries at BibleHub.com     Additional Resources Article revealing the music project was around cancer awareness - Billboard.com Lyrics Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers on Psalm 34 at BibleHub.com   Weekly Challenge Work through Psalm 34 on your own. As we saw on today's podcast, this is an ideal psalm to commit to memory. If internalizing the entire psalm feels too intimidating, pick a few verses to read, reread, and repeat until you can write them out on your own, speak them out to others in common day conversation, and lift them back up in prayer to your heavenly Father. And here's a teaser...there's another direct Scripture reference in our song this week that could send you off to another section of Scripture in the New Testament to study.


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    February 1, 2021 #361: "Truth Be Told" by Matthew West

    There's a shortage of truth in the world today. Of course, the definition of truth seems to up for grabs for some, but today we're talking about sincerity in action without pretense. Matthew West sings about this in his song "Truth Be Told." Jesus teaches about it in the Gospel of Matthew. Spend some time this week examining the words of Jesus with an open heart. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Consider the historical background Follow the cross-references Utilize a trusted outside resource (like a commentary or Study Bible) Read in context Summarize the text in your own words Ask questions of the text Remember, the people in the Bible were real The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Matthew West's story behind the song - YouTube Video The book Matthew West wrote that he mentioned in the video - "Hello My Name Is" by Matthew West The verse in Isaiah Matthew West refers to in the video - Isaiah 29:13 How Jesus uses two metaphors to talk about what He thinks of being clean, put together, and FINE only on the outside - Matthew 23:27-28 The historical context of why touching tombs would have been a big deal to Christ's audience - Numbers 19:16 Why it was their practice to whitewash tombs - Douglas Sean O'Donnell "Preaching The Word" Commentary on Matthew Really considering the root of what Jesus is teaching and how it may apply to our own "clean on the outside and a hot mess on the inside" moments Zooming out all the way to Matthew 21 to see the context of our focus teaching Summarizing Matthew 23:1-11 in our own words Recognizing the seven "woe"s in Matthew 23 Checking out another "woe" from the Old Testament - Hosea 7:13 Hearing the "rolling thunder of Christ's wrath" in the text Recognizing the hypocrisy in our own lives and treating it with the weight Christ demands Additional Resources Matthew West makes the case for honesty - KLove Blog Lyrics - WGBL.org "Truth Be Told" by Matthew West Story Behind the Song - YouTube Article on the seven "woe"s in Matthew 23 - GotQuestions.org Article on what "woe" means in Scripture - Patheos.com Commentary on the book of Matthew - Amazon.com Weekly Challenge Read Matthew 21-25 to understand the complete context of Jesus' teaching. Focus in on Matthew 23 and really study it (I've included resources I used "Additional Resources" above). Identify and write down summaries of the seven woes. Hear the rolling thunder of Christ's wrath and take His rebuke seriously. Pray and ask the Lord to reveal any hypocrisy in your life.


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    January 25, 2021 #360: Graves Into Gardens ft. Brandon Lake by Elevation Worship

    We spend so much time trying to make things happen in our lives. This last year has shown us on a global level how little control we have. Elevation Worship's song "Graves Into Gardens" reminds us that God does transformational things -- and He's the only One Who can. Let's use this song to send us to the words of a prophet and a king to learn more about our transformational God. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Consider the historical background Start with God Ask questions Make a list The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE My prayer for my listeners -- that God will give you an unreasonable desire for His Word that leads to an unsurpassable relationship with Him God, Himself is our goal, and our priority must be our Father and His kingdom Spending time in Isaiah 61 in Episode 282 Our starting-point verse that uses the phrase "mourning to dancing" - Psalm 30:11 Gaining historical perspective by consulting my study Bible - ESV Study Bible Observing concrete details in the life of David, empathizing with those details, and translating that into worshiping God from the same place Starting with God by asking questions of the text that lead us to Him A trusted resource to teach us how to ask questions of the text - "Asking the Right Questions" by Matthew Harmon Making lists of God's character, conduct, and concerns revealed in Psalm 30 Discovering more transformations in Isaiah 61 Weekly Challenge
    Spend some time in Psalm 30 and Isaiah 61 this week. Try starting with God as you interact with the text. Seek where you can learn more about His character, His conduct, and His concerns. Identify some of the transformations we sing about in our song that are directly reflected in the text but don't stop there! Pray and listen for what God wants you to learn from His Word.


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    January 18, 2021 #359: "Jericho" by Andrew Ripp

    It doesn't matter how thick the walls are to us; it only matters how thick the walls are to God. When Andrew Ripp sings of our fears coming down like Jericho walls in his song "Jericho," I was inspired to study the story leading up to that moment. I learned a lot about Joshua and what God commanded him. {Spoiler alert: God speaks directly to his fear.} Join me on the journey this week! In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Read larger chunks of Scripture Consider the opposite Use section headings to get your bearings Read/watch an overview of the book you're studying Consider the historical context Meditate on God's Word Follow the cross-reference The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Not overcomplicating our time in God's Word Taking in the whole story - Joshua 1-6 Considering that "courage" is the opposite of "fear" An overview of the book of Joshua - BibleProject.com Taking on Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy to gain historical context (look for Joshua in these texts as well) God's four calls for Joshua be strong and courageous - Joshua 1:1-9 One more call to courage from Joshua's fellow Israelites - Joshua 1:16-18 Trusting God and letting fear crumble to the ground because He's trustworthy Following the cross-reference to see Moses sending out spies - Numbers 13:18-20 Reading on to Numbers 14:7-9 to hear Joshua's own words in the face of fear the first time they pulled up to the promised land   Additional Resources Lyrics - mykits.com Individual song - Amazon Weekly Challenge Read Joshua 1-6. Consider reading it multiple times in various versions. Note the repeated call to courage and meditate on the details surrounding each call. Follow the cross-reference to Numbers 13 and 14 and compare and contrast the sending of spies into the promised land.


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    January 11, 2021 #358: "A Thousand Thank Yous" by Sarah Kroger

    Words cannot describe how worthy God is of our adoration and thanksgiving. Sarah Kroger's song, "A Thousand Thank Yous," gives God all of the glory as He deserves. It also inspired me to soak in some psalms of gratitude this week. Incorporate more adoration and thanksgiving into your prayer life this week. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Praying the Scripture Journal your interactions with Scripture and God Choose one word to meditate on Read the text aloud Slow down The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Utilizing the resources over at TheBereanTest.com - A Thousand Thank Yous Review Choosing Psalms of Gratitude with the help of SheReadsTruth.com - Psalms of Gratitude Using the prayer model of A.C.T.S. and focusing on adoration and thanksgiving Logging our interactions with God's Word in a journal Acknowledging the authority, validity, and claims of God in Psalm 100 Asking God to help me tame my tongue so that the words of my mouth are acceptable to Him - Psalm 19:14, James 3:10 Filling my heart with God's Word so that the meditations of my heart are acceptable Looking to the Lord to visibly reflect radiant joy - Psalm 34:4-7 Recognizing that God's plans for and works in my life do not compare to HIM - Psalm 40:5 Renewing my sense of awe and wonder in Psalm 66   Additional Resources Lyrics Individual song - Amazon Weekly Challenge Grab your Bible, thank God for His Word, and dive into five Psalms of gratitude and praise this week -- Psalm 100, Psalm 19, Psalm 34, Psalm 40, and Psalm 66. If you find yourself distracted, read the text out loud. Look for one word that jumps out at you in each psalm. Ponder the word and the context of the verse it's found in. Incorporate your thoughts into your prayers. Discover what you can learn about who God is and what His great acts include. Log your findings in a journal or a notebook as prayers of adoration and thanksgiving. Use this week's song as a soundtrack for your prayerful efforts this week.


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    January 4, 2021 #357: "All Glory Be To Christ" by Kings Kaleidoscope

    Happy New Year! Each new year brings with it an opportunity to set new goals and consider what your focus will be before life gets in the way. Kings Kaleidoscope has a song set to the tune of the traditional new year’s song "Auld Lang Syne." Their song “All Glory Be To Christ” reminds us ultimately what each new year is about…Jesus. The song leads us to Psalm 127 where we are reminded that we are nothing without the Lord. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Ask questions Make observations The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The Rapid Bible Read Through that I do every year with my friend, Keith Ferrin - information about year's read through can be found here RBRT2021 The Psalms of Ascent - Got Questions Article Focusing more on the Architect than the house plans - Psalm 127:1 The role of a watchman - Psalm 127:1 Keeping in context the warning in verse 2 - Psalms 127:2 Not separating the "in vain" section from the "family" section of Psalm 127 Our duty to smooth and prepare our arrows (children) to be shot into the battle - Psalm 127:4 How I don't want to do anything this year in vain...with my family, ministry, or career   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords Individual song or full album - Amazon Weekly Challenge Read Psalm 127 for yourself. While you do, make sure you don't take each verse out of context…it is one song, after all. Ask questions, make observations, and fix your eyes on the Lord. Pray and ask Him to be the architect of your life this year. Determine in your heart to bring Him glory.    


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    December 28, 2020 #356: My Favorite Resources

    Here are a few resources I use in storing up God's Word in my heart. I sprinkle them throughout my podcast episodes, but I thought this would be a great time to put them all down in a list. In fact, you can download a free pdf with live links HERE.


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    December 21, 2020 #355: "He Shall Reign Forevermore" by Matt Maher

    God's names help us get to know him better. Matt Maher's Christmas song, "He Shall Reign Forevermore," points us to an area of Scripture that reveals four powerful names of Jesus. It is at Christmastime we are reminded, "To us, a child is born." Let's get to know Him better through his names. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Consulting an outside resource Reading in context Completing a word study Following the cross-references The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Getting really good at reading, studying, and understanding Scripture so I'm prepared for quality life application Soaking in Isaiah 9:1-7 inspired by our song Exploring Christ's kingdom, government, and eternal reign in Scripture He will reign forever and ever - Revelation 11:15 Parables of what the kingdom of heaven is like Wheat and weeds growing together until sorted out at the harvest - Matthew 13:24-30 A huge tree growing from a small start - Matthew 13:31-32 Like yeast, a little bit, growing from within permeates the entire loaf - Matthew 13:33 A hidden treasure worth selling everything for - Matthew 13:44 A jewel of inestimable value - Matthew 13:45 A fishing net catching good and bad fish to be sorted out later - Matthew 13:47-50 Filled with teachers who bring out new and old gems of truth - Matthew 13:52 A forgiving king who expect those who have been forgiven a great debt to "pay it forward" - Matthew 18:23-25 The vineyard workers who are last receive the same blessing/payment as those who are first - Matthew 20:1-16 The wedding feast where all are invited, but few responded - Matthew 22:2-14 A bridegroom who may return at any time and we must be ready - Matthew 25:1-13 The servants who invested what the Lord had given them and were entrusted with more - Matthew 25:14-30 JD Greear's book "Searching for Christmas: What if There's More to the Story Than You Thought" - Amazon Link JD reading his short book for free on his podcast - Spotify Link Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor, instructs and guides us with authority so great it is beyond our understanding God's ways are higher - Isaiah 55:8 What we can know of God is just the fringe - Job 26:14 Jesus understands what we're going through - Hebrews 4:15 Jesus is our Mighty God -- our El Gibbor Scanning the 159 times "gibbor" is used in Scripture to discover when it is applied to God - BibleHub.com Following the cross-reference to Psalm 45 Recognizing that our Everlasting Father is the PERFECT Father He's engaged and full of love - Psalm 103:8 His love is sacrificial - John 3:16 He loves lavishly - 1 John 3:1 His love rejoices over us with singing - Zephaniah 3:17 A little gem hidden in Zephaniah 3:17 that is uncovered by our study this week Understanding more about Biblical peace to better understand how Jesus is our Prince of Peace - BibleProject.com How Jesus makes everything whole - Ephesians 3:12-14 I just want to be really good at reading, studying, and understanding God's Word so that I know my conclusions (or the conclusions of pastors and teachers I sit under) are rooted in truth and understanding. Trust me, when that happens, the application is all the richer. Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - EssentialWorship.com Story behind the song "He Shall Reign Forevermore" - YouTube Video Chris Tomlin sharing "He Shall Reign Forevermore" in the New Song Cafe - WorshipTogether.com Weekly Challenge Read all about the promised Christ child in Isaiah 9. Meditate on the names given to Jesus in this text. Consider the significance of what we learn about Him through these names. Try exploring one of His titles further in Hebrew through an online resource. Chase down a few cross-references -- you never know where they may lead. Respond to God's lavish love by placing your faith in our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, our Prince of Peace.


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    December 14, 2020 #354: "Light of the World (Sing Hallelujah)" by We The Kingdom

    Sitting in a dark room, even the flame from the smallest candle can invade. No wonder Isaiah describes the impact of Christ on our dark world as a "great light." Inspired by We The Kingdom's song "Light of the World" I explore what we can learn about Jesus as the Light of the world. Come along for the journey as we sit in a large chunk of Scripture and then explore the theme of "light" this week. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Studying a theme Reading in context Reading larger chunks of Scripture Making observations of the text Making a list Consulting an outside resource Considering the historical context The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Using Christmas lights to remind us that Christ is the "Light of the world" Studying the context of John 1:1-18 because of verse 9 - John 1:9 Observing the details in the text "Light" is repeated 7 times "Word" is introduced and repeated four times "He/Him" is repeated 18 times Using an outside resource to deepen my understanding of why John used the Greek word "logos" to describe Jesus - GotQuestions.org Article Listing out the times John talks about Jesus being "the Word" and what we learn about Him Jesus is eternal Jesus was with God before coming to earth Jesus is God Jesus is Creator Jesus is the giver of life Jesus became human The theme of light pointing to Christ throughout Scripture Creation of the first light - Genesis 1:3-4; with the Jesus connection in 2 Corinthians 4:6 God is the source of Israel's light - Exodus 13:21-22 God is the source of our individual light - Psalm 27:1 and Psalm 18:28 God's Word is our source of light - Psalm 119:105 and Psalm 119:130 Jesus is the greatest light of all - John 1:4-5 Jesus declares himself the "light of the world" - John 8:12 The prophet Isaiah speaks of the future glory of a restored Israel - Isaiah 60:1-3 Jesus is the lamp for all eternity in the New Jerusalem - Revelation 21:22-27 How we, too, are to shine with the light of Christ - Matthew 5:14-16 I know you may feel like the darkness is overtaking you but cling fast to the hope of the truth that the darkness will not overcome the light.     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com Performance and story behind the song "Light of the World" by We The Kingdom - YouTube Video What do John 1:1,14 mean when they declare that Jesus is the Word of God? - GotQuestions.org Article The meaning of the candles in the Messianic Jewish Candle Lighting Ceremony - Yeshua Ha'Mashiach Ministries Article Weekly Challenge Dive into John 1. Read all about Jesus the Word and the light of the world. Make observations. Make lists. Go on a scavenger hunt throughout the Bible to see references to light and ponder their connection to God's revelation of His Son as the Light of the World.    


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    December 7, 2020 #353: "The Carol of Joseph (I Believe in You)" by for KING & COUNTRY

    Joseph was faced with a life-altering, gut-wrenching situation, yet he didn't question when God spoke. Rather, Joseph trusted and obeyed. for King & Country inspired me to ponder the details of Joseph in the Christmas account through their song, "The Carol of Joseph (I Believe In You)." Join me as we continue pondering the details of Christ's birth. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Repetition Remember, the people described in these accounts are real Make a list Observation Meditation The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Searching the Scriptures for what we can learn about Joseph How remembering the people described in the Bible were real helps Scripture come to life Making a list of times Joseph was mentioned or most likely present in documented events Looking back at Episode 149 to explore the genealogy of Christ The first mention of Joseph - Matthew 1:16 Meditating on the emotional turmoil of Joseph during this time My friend Chris Syme's new Bible study coming out - womenfinishingwell.com Considering the contrast of Moses' response to the Lord in Exodus 3 What about you? Are you a "wake up and do what God said" kind of person or a "please pick someone else" kind of person? Additional Resources Lyrics and chords What was a betrothal in biblical times? - GotQuestions.org Article Watch the fantastic Official Picture-Story Lyric Video Playlist - YouTube Weekly Challenge Use repetition, observation, and meditation to learn and consider more about Joseph. Compare and contrast Joseph's recorded responses to the Lord with Moses in Exodus 3. Interact with God's Word and while you do, ask yourself, "Will I be a 'wake up and do what God said' kind of person or a 'please pick someone else' kind of person?"    


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    November 30, 2020 #352: "Hope Is Here (Do Not Fear)" by Building 429

    There is a difference between optimism and hope that is displayed in the Bible. Before the birth of Christ, there was a tension in the waiting as all of creation anticipated the coming Messiah. Because of Jesus, we live in an age of hope. Building 429 sings about this in their new Christmas song, "Hope is Here (Do Not Fear)." Jesus is our hope of salvation. Let's celebrate Him this week. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Repetition Listen to an audio version Read in a variety of translations Read the text aloud Study with a friend Remember, the people described in these accounts are real Make a list Utilize outside resources - Bible Project The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE How the angel told Joseph, "Do not fear" - Matthew 1:18-25 Reading the details of Jesus' birth repetitively for Increased comprehension Increased comfort with the text Richer conversations around the text A deeper understanding of the characters Noticing new things in the story Shifting your focus to big ideas Increased ability to make more associations Making a list of what the angel told Joseph about Jesus He came from the Holy Spirit He would save his people from their sins He will be called Immanuel (which means God with us) Recognizing the difference between optimism and biblical hope - Bible Project Resources Beginning with the end in mind - Romans 5:1-11 Making Old Testament connections with Paul in Romans 15:8-13 From the beginning, God had a plan. He didn’t get to Matthew chapter one and say, “I wonder what I’m going to do to redeem my people?” Everything up to this moment was pointing to Jesus. Additional Resources Song release article - FreeCCM.com This Week's Challenge Start this week by diving into the texts describing the birth of Christ in Matthew and Luke chapters 1 and 2. Consider that this was the beginning of Christ’s earthly life but was by no means the beginning. Think about the difference between optimism and biblical hope. Read and meditate on Romans 5, and the salvation described there that was promised through the angel’s words to Joseph.


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    November 23, 2020 #351: "Nothing Else" by Cody Carnes

    Is it possible to actively serve Christ and miss Him all at the same time? It sure is! I don't want to miss Him, though. Cody Carnes' song, "Nothing Else," inspired me to consider what it looks like to sit at the feet of Jesus, taking in his preeminence, and ultimately repenting for where I've gone off track. Join me in exploring a few Scripture areas as we discover that "nothing else will do" besides Jesus. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Remember, the people described in the Bible were real Compare and contrast Make observations Utilize outside resources (this week, it was my study Bible) Meditate on Scripture The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Sitting at the feet of Jesus - Luke 10:38-42 The "good portion" discussed in the Old Testament - Psalm 73:26, Psalm 16:5 How the preeminence of Christ inspires us to sit at his feet as disciples - Colossians 1:15-20 Returning to our first love - Revelation 2:2-7 How we can get so much right and so much wrong at the same time -- requiring our repentance - Revelation 2:5 The three steps we should take Remember Repent Return Christ's preeminence in our lives should reflect a centrality that emanates, impacts, and rules every other part of our lives.   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com The story behind the writing of the song "Nothing Else" by Cody Carnes - YouTube ESV Study Bible - Amazon This Week's Challenge Read and ponder the account of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Don't forget that these ladies were real, not merely an object lesson. Make observations and compare and contrast as you interact with this section of Scripture. Head over to Colossians 1 to meditate on the preeminence of Christ. Finally, get your marching orders on how to return to your first love in Revelation 2. Only after you've studied these sections of Scripture on your own should you enhance your study time through outside resources like commentaries or study Bibles.  


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    November 16, 2020 #350: "Famous For (I Believe)" by Tauren Wells

    Do you know what God is famous for? I mean, can you describe some of the wondrous deeds of the Lord that He is most famous for? Tauren Wells sings out a list in his song "Famous For (I Believe)." Being able to remember and recount the miracles and judgments of God is required by Scripture.   Let's get better at remembering and recounting by reading and interacting with God's Word this week. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Mark up the text Make observations Repetition Ask questions Make a list Start with God The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Some of the areas of Scripture the song describes Making a way through the waters in Exodus 14 Walking in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 Shutting the mouths of lions in Daniel 6 Bringing bones back to life in Ezekiel 37 Using Psalm 105 as a pattern to declare praise and recounting specific works of the Lord Marking up the text - click here for my rudimentary example (ignore my poor handwriting) Circling verbs and noticing repeated words Stopping to ask what we can learn about God before seeking to apply the text to ourselves He performs deeds He performs wondrous works His name is holy He offers strength He offers His presence He performs miracles He proclaims judgment He remembers His covenant forever What our response should be Give thanks Call upon His name Make known His deeds Sing praises to Him Tell of all his wondrous works Glory in his holy name Let our heart rejoice Seek the Lord Seek His strength Seek His presence Remember the wondrous works He has done Remember His miracles Remember His judgments Remembering that when we call on God to do what He is famous for, it includes both miracles and judgments -- and both are wondrous The "so what" of the Psalm - Psalm 105:43-45 He brings us out of captivity into freedom and promise so that we can live the way He designed When we call on God to do what He is famous for, it includes both miracles and judgments...and both are wondrous. Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - EssentialWorship.com The story behind the song "Famous For (I Believe)" by Tauren Wells - WCICfm.org What is the New Covenant? - GotQuestions.org Article This Week's Challenge Try printing out a copy of Psalm 105 to mark up the text without fear. Read the Psalm repetitively and then begin to make some observations. Mark up verbs and note words that are repeated. Start by asking yourself what you learn about God from this psalm. Move into asking yourself how you are to respond. Perhaps use this psalm (or this week's song) to inspire you to read about the accounts recorded in God's Word that the songs are summarizing.


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    November 9, 2020 #349: "P E A C E" by Hillsong Young & Free

    I had a conversation with a friend this week. She described herself as "full up." I get it. This year isn't cutting any of us any breaks, is it? It keeps pouring out the stress, and we're "full up." What we need is a peace that passes understanding. That's what Hillsong Young & Free sings about in their song "P E A C E," and it is promised to us in Scripture.   Join me as we explore what it takes to secure the peace we so desperately desire. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Repetition Read in several translations Read an overview of the book you are studying Journal your dialogue with God Make a list The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Understanding the anxiety, I address in this episode is circumstantial, not clinical Why the song inspired me to study Philippians - Philippians 4:6-7 Making it your habit to read the epistles all the way through My favorite resource for overviews of each book of the Bible along with advice on how to read each book - "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart - Amazon link Highlighting the emphases of the letter to Philippians so as not to study a smaller section ignoring the whole Identifying areas of anxiety in your own life Discovering potential sources of anxiety for the Philippians Specific instructions that lead to peace - Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice Pray Refocusing our minds during times of anxiety - Philippians 4:8 Practicing what we've learned today - Philippians 4:9 Practice rejoicing. Practice praying with thanksgiving. DO THESE THINGS. Don't just read about them. Do them. Practice them. Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com The story behind the song "P E A C E" by Hillsong Young & Free - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read all of Philippians multiple times this week. Try reading in a variety of translations. Look for hints at what might cause anxiety in the lives of the church members at Philippi and discover if anything you discover compares to what you are dealing with. Follow Paul's instructions as it relates to your anxiety; rejoice, and pray. Practice these things, and you will not only get God's peace but God Himself.


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    November 2, 2020 #348: "Love God Love People" by Danny Gokey

    I love it when someone takes something complex and boils it down for me. Jesus does that when asked about the greatest commandment, and Danny Gokey sings about it in his song, "Love God Love People." There's no greater power than really understanding the Scripture, inspiring the summary statement found in our song, and the words of Christ. In this episode, I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Reference section headings to get your bearings Follow the cross-references Compare and contrast Make a list Utilizing outside resources (after you are familiar with the text) The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Jesus command to love God and love people - Matthew 22:22-40 Reading Matthew 21-23 to get the context of what was going on leading up to this scene and what happens after Understanding that the question that was asked of Jesus was intended to trip him up Resisting the temptation to "fill in the blanks" when we read a similar account in multiple gospels - "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" by Gordon and Fee Reading the same account in the Gospel of Mark - Mark 12:28-34 Comparing and contrasting the details of each account Following up on discoveries with further research (i.e., reading up on scribes vs. lawyers using a Bible Dictionary found at BibleStudyTools.com) How Jesus is quoting the Shema as found in Deuteronomy 6:30 Learning more about the Shema through outside resources - Bible Project Shema Series Heading over to Leviticus 19 to see when "love your neighbor as yourself" was first mentioned - Leviticus 19:1-17 Making a list of instructions that lead to personal holiness - Leviticus 19:1-17 Finding the instruction to love our neighbor as ourself again in Paul's letter to the Galatians - Galatians 5:13-15 When we love others rightly, we are automatically fulfilling the guidance detailed by the law. The law shows us what sin is - Romans 7:7 Our personal holiness is in direct relationship to how we interact with God and others. Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - PraiseCharts.com A Conversation with Danny Gokey About His New Song “Love God, Love People” - Spirit1053.com This Week's Challenge Read Matthew 22 and Mark 12 in context. Read the context of Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 19, where Jesus pulled his summary from of the greatest commandments in Scripture. Make a list of what steps that will contribute to your personal holiness. Contemplate how those two simple phrases sum up the law and the prophets. Take some time to learn more about the Shema.


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    October 26, 2020 #347: "Who Am I?" by NEEDTOBREATHE

    I need a reset sometimes. Instead of looking at myself, I need to look up. Perhaps when I do, I can reset my perspective as I consider God's greatness and my insignificance in comparison to Him. And yet, as NEEDTOBREATHE sings about in "Who Am I?", and David writes about in the Psalms, God thinks of me and cares for me. Mind blown.     Let's look up together and consider the heavens and the work of God's fingers in Psalm 8. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read the text aloud Repetition Meditation Consult outside resources Follow the cross-references The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE How King David asks the same question found in our song in Psalm 8 Letting Scripture speak louder than any lyric in our lives If you know how to worry you know how to meditate David "considering" the heavens and the work of God's fingers Allowing God's creation to lead us to worship of God's splendor and majesty - Psalm 8:1, Psalm 8:9 Louie Giglio's presentation "Indescribable" - YouTube Video A shorter option - Louie Giglio on the Star Maker - YouTube Video "What if the primary purpose of the universe is to display the splendor of God?" - Louie Giglio How God calls every star by name - Isaiah 40:25-26 How God measures the universe in His hand - Isaiah 40:12 How God reminds Job that he has no agency in the creation of, sustaining of, or future of the universe - Job 38:31 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Tabs For Worship Story Behind the Song "Who Am I?" by NEEDTOBREATHE - New Release Today Article Louie Giglio "Indescribable" - YouTube Video Louie Giglio "Star Maker" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 8 out loud. Read it repeatedly. Go outside at night and look up. Take in the majesty of the heavens and consider the work of God's fingers. Watch the message by Louie Giglio to give you even greater perspective and images to consider as you meditate on the splendor of God and His creation. Only then should you look toward yourself and ask, "What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?"


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    October 19, 2020 #346: "Rise Up (Lazarus)" by CAIN

    What if Lazarus never came out of the tomb? When Jesus made Lazarus alive again it wasn't so that he could lie there wrapped in burial clothes, it was so he could walk in newness of life. The CAIN band sings of this in their song "Rise Up (Lazarus)". We, too, are called to walk in newness of life.     Join me on a journey through the New Testament to explore what we are to "rise up" to do. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Explore a theme/topic in Scripture Reading in context Following the cross-references Slowing down The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE How we are dead in sin apart from Christ - Ephesians 2:1-10 Considering ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus - Romans 6 Dying to sin IN ORDER THAT we might walk in newness of life - Romans 6:4 Slowing down in Romans 6 to see God's grace, what's on the other side of walking in newness of life, freedom, fruit, and eternal life in Christ Being crucified with Christ - Galatians 2:20 Opposition to walking in newness of life - Galatians 5:16-25 Putting off our old self - Ephesians 4:17-24 Reading the story of Lazarus' resurrection in John 11 in light of all we've studied Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship The story behind the song "Rise Up (Lazarus)" by CAIN - YouTube Video "What Does it Mean That a Christian is a New Creation?" - GotQuestions.org Article This Week's Challenge Take the journey we took on this week's podcast episode from death to life. Start in Ephesians 2, stop off in Romans 6 before heading to Galatians 2 and 5, and put on your new self in Ephesians 4. Once you have studied all of this, take in the story of Lazarus' resurrection in John 11 -- it will sparkle in new ways.


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    October 12, 2020 #345: "Pray" by Koryn Hawthorne

    When I write the word "discipline," what do you think of? Do you think of correcting disobedience or do you think of training toward a good habit? Prayer is a spiritual discipline that is modeled by our Savior and sung about by Koryn Hawthorne in her song, "Pray." Let's explore what Scripture has to say about this spiritual discipline. In this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Explore a theme/topic in Scripture Reading in context The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Spiritual disciplines essential to our walk with Christ Unpacking some of the phrases found in the chorus The Lord hears us when we pray - 1 Peter 3:12, 2 Corinthians 5:21 God responds when we pray - Jeremiah 33:3, Mark 11:24 Pray when we feel like we're not going to make it - Philippians 4:6-7 HOW to pray - Luke 11:1 How prayer is something that can be learned and needs to be practiced Timothy Keller's book, "Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God" Jesus' model for prayer - Luke 11:2-4 Another location for Jesus' prayer model - Matthew 6:5-13 Breaking down the model Jesus gave us to pray Adoration Reorienting our view to God's priorities Asking for our daily sustenance Prayer of watchfulness Additional Resources Lyrics - Zion Lyrics A news release about the song - Jubilee Cast This Week's Challenge Focus on your prayer life this week. Examine how you normally pray and compare it to the model Jesus gives us in Luke 11 and Matthew 6. Consider the truths that God not only hears us when we pray, but He responds. Prayer matters! Deepen this spiritual discipline in your life through study and then practice.  


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    October 5, 2020 #344: "I Don't Wanna Go" by Chris Renzema

    Oh, that I would make the mantra in the chorus of Chris Renzema's song the TRUE mantra of my life. When I sing along with "I Don't Wanna Go," I put God in the driver's seat. Too many times, however, I rush ahead of God and then ask Him to bless my efforts.     Let's explore a time when King David got it right in 2 Samuel 7. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Explore a theme/topic in Scripture Reading in context Following the cross-references The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Examples from our song of people NOT getting ahead of God David and the temple - 2 Samuel 7 God's ways not being our ways - Isaiah 55:8-9 Israel on the shore of the Red Sea - Exodus 14 Moses observing the promised land from the mountain top - Numbers 27 and Deuteronomy 34 Peter on the mount of transfiguration - Matthew 17:1-9 and 2 Peter 1:16-21 Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane - Matthew 26 David wants to build a house for God God wants to build a house for David Solomon is slated to build the temple because David was a man of war - 1 Chronicles 22 The things we see in this account that include" God's sovereign will A link to the Abrahamic Covenant An introduction to the Davidic Covenant A link to our song An example of praying in God's will by praying His words back to Him The confidence we can have when praying in the will of God - 1 John 5:14-15   Additional Resources Chords - Garrett Nogan Video Tutorial Lyrics This Week's Challenge Let this week's song inspire you to explore the theme of following God's lead in Scripture. Specifically, read the story of David wanting to build a temple for the Lord in 2 Samuel 7. Then follow the cross-references to 1 Chronicles 22 to learn why God would NOT allow David to build a temple to honor Him. You might even round out your time in God's Word by observing the temple being built by Solomon in 2 Chronicles. I want you to know ALL the stories so that you can move from observing what the Bible says, to interpreting what it means, to finally applying the truth to your life and journey with Christ.      


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    September 28, 2020 #343: "Great Is Our God" by Plumb

    The Bible is full of songs of praise. When we consider the words of these songs, we see deep, rich, pattern-altering examples of how to appropriately respond to our great God. The lyrics of "Great Is Our God" by Plumb are reflected in a song written by David and given to us as Psalm 145.     Sometimes we blow past these meaningful songs without letting them sink in and transform the way we think. This week we will slow down. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Repetition Read the text aloud Reading through this Psalm and not remembering what I read the next day - Psalm 145 Noticing how my character traits do not match the traits of my heavenly Father How praying for others and sharing the verses you are reading can help you retain A "hidden" promise in this Psalm that God will satisfy our hunger for Him - Psalm 145:16 How I understand the struggle to keep daily time in God's Word a priority Considering the many ways the psalmist reflects proclaiming the greatness of God As a faithful follower of God, we should be prepared to speak of the examples of God's power specifically personally Teaching our children to "See God" - Give Them Wisdom Video by Merida Brooks "Magnolia spotting" with my daughter, Meredith   Additional Resources The story behind the song "Great Is Our God" by Plumb with lyrics - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Get inspired by this week's song to dig into Psalm 145. Spend some real time in it. Try using the Bible Interaction Tool Exercise of reading it out loud. Don't just do a quick drive-by. Meditate on the words and even try to remember what you've read! Make a list of your own personal examples of God's goodness in your life and share them with others...proclaim them. May you bless His holy name forever and ever.


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    September 21, 2020 #342: "Who You Are To Me" by Chris Tomlin Feat. Lady A

    Our world is full of "that may be true for you, but not for me" conversations. However, when it comes to God, His characteristics don't change based on my perception of them. In their new song, "Who You Are To Me," Chris Tomlin and Lady A aren't suggesting God can be one thing to you and something else to me. Rather, they are giving us lyrics to rehearse the goodness of a very personal God who longs to make His home in our hearts.     In fact, let's explore the topic of Jesus living inside of our hearts through Scripture. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Exploring a topic Marking up the text Making a list Meditating on Scripture The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE How almost every phrase of this song came up in conversation this week Enjoying declaring the names and characteristics of God through song How God's characteristics don't change based on my perception of them How Scripture is God's revealed Word to us, not just stories on a page How the question, "Am I still worthy of God's love?" is the wrong question - God's love is not bestowed based on worth Getting down on my knees as a physical posture that represents my desire for the posture of my heart Praying for a hunger and thirst for more of God...He will not leave you empty Exploring the topic of Jesus living in our hearts Romans 8:9-11 Ephesians 3:14-19 Colossians 1:24-29 Galatians 2:19-21   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com "Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know For Sure You Are Saved" by J.D. Greear - Amazon This Week's Challenge Explore these areas in Scripture where we learn about Christ and the Spirit of God living within us. Meditate on the truths found in Romans 8, Ephesians 3, Colossians 1, and Galatians 2. Interact with the Scripture by marking repetitive phrases, making lists, or committing key verses to memory.


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    September 14, 2020 #341: "Promises" by Maverick City Music

    Have you ever been asked to define a word you're familiar with, but don't have the depth of knowledge and clarity to actually put it into words? This week's song "Promises" by Maverick City Music sings of some characteristics of God that inspired more scrutiny on my part.     Join me in exploring the God of covenant in Genesis and Romans this week. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consult an outside resource Get your bearings with section headings The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The value of rehearsing the faithfulness of God using specifics from the Bible and our own lives Positioning yourself to be held accountable for staying in God's Word Getting bold and creative in whatever season you're in to commit to interacting with God's Word An overview of the life of Abram in Genesis up to God's covenant with him What a covenant is and learning more about covenants in the Bible Outside resources I used this week Table Talk Magazine GotQuestions.org Timeline for Abraham How God pursues covenant with people and not the other way around The covenant ceremony between Abram and God in Genesis 15 Details of how covenants were ratified in Biblical times Reading Romans 4 in light of what we learn in Genesis 15-17   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com This Week's Challenge Make sure your life commitments include groups or relationships that call you to personal study of God's Word -- that accountability makes all of the difference. Read about the life of Abraham for yourself in Genesis 12-25. Use outside resources to increase your knowledge of covenant and make sense of the scene we read together today. Learn even more about Abraham and how it all makes sense in light of the gospel by exploring Romans 4 in context. Ponder the significance of faith in the life of Abraham and in our own lives.


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    September 7, 2020 #340: "Amadeo (Still My God)" by Ryan Stevenson

    Tragedy can rock us to our very core. How will our view of God change when our circumstances change? Ryan Stevenson sings of this in his song, "Amadeo (Still My God)." It is a declaration that is echoed in Scripture as well.     Join me as we explore the Book of Job to see what we can learn about God and how we should respond. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read and keep on reading Consult an outside resource Read Scripture out loud The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE My family's catastrophic loss due to Hurricane Laura Job's profound loss - Job 1:13-19 Job's anguish echoed in the lives of those affected by tragedy - Job 3:24-26 Despite misery, tragic circumstances, and unimaginable loss...Yahweh is STILL MY GOD Watching the Bible Project's Overview of Job video before reading the book of Job for yourself - YouTube Video The idea that "the satan" referenced in Job may merely be "the one opposed" giving an opposing view to set the stage - BibleProject Blog Post Part One, BibleProject Blog Post Part Two The idea that the book of Job gives us answers we need to a question we rarely think to ask (John Walton) Honestly bringing our pain and grief to God, trusting that He actually cares and that He knows what He's doing Remembering that the speeches given by Job and his friends are not God's words -- God speaks at the end What retribution theology is and how Job and his friends subscribe to this way of thinking - GotQuestions.org God's response to Job - Job 38:1-3 God's wide perspective that we will never be able to fully grasp as finite beings Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - Ultimate-Guitar.com Story Behind the Song "Amadeo (Still My God)" by Ryan Stevenson - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read the book of Job for yourself, but before you do, watch the BibleProject overview video. Try reading the text out loud for dramatic effect. Remember the question Job is asking is not the question God is trying to answer. Take in the text as a whole and know that you can trust God in the most trying of circumstances.


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    August 31, 2020 #339: "My Weapon" by Natalie Grant

    With all of the talk these days about what is and is not "essential," it's good to be reminded that God's presence IS essential. Natalie Grant goes so far to declare God's presence as our weapon against the darkness in her song, "My Weapon."     Let's discover how essential God's presence was to Moses in Exodus 33. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Use the section titles to get your bearings Write out Scripture in your own words The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE God's initial response to NOT go with His people - Exodus 33:1-4 Getting really good at discovering what the Word of God says before moving on to other steps Getting our bearings in large books of the Bible by using section headings Discovering when Moses went up the mountain - Exodus 24:9-14 Acknowledging WHY God was so angry with the people that He would not accompany them to the promised land - Exodus 32:11-14 Writing out the scene in your own words (maybe even dramatizing it as I did) Moses interceding for the people - Exodus 32:11-14, Exodus 33:12-17 A reminder from Episode 338 that joy accompanies the presence of God A reminder from Episode 337 that our Great High Priest intercedes for us to this day Really considering what it would be like taking even one more step without the presence of God   Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - PraiseCharts.com Story Behind the Song "My Weapon" by Natalie Grant - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Exodus 32-34 and consider what it would be like for the people of God to be led by His angel, but without the presence of God. Prayerfully ponder how essential God's presence is in your own life. Can you declare with Moses, "How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us?"


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    August 24, 2020 #338: "joy." by For King and Country

    Forrest Gump's mama said, "Life's like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're going to get!" And while that may be true, 2020 has turned into a big bite of cocoa powder. We had great hopes and expectations for this year, but in many ways, it has turned into a chalky, bitter disappointment. However, For King and Country's song "joy." reminds us that even in the midst of missed expectations, we can choose joy.     Let's consider what God's Word has to say on the matter on a journey from James to the Psalms to Romans. On this week's episode I discuss: Check out the official music video for this week's song below! Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Complete a word study Read in context Write out Scripture Make observations Write out Scripture in your own words Observe/Reflect/Respond The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Here's a link to the video I talked about at the top of the episode - YouTube Video Choosing joy with perspective - James 1:2-4 Word study on "consider" - hégeomai - BibleHub.com Finding joy in God's presence 1 Chronicles 16:27 Psalm 16:11 Psalm 28:7 (We soak in this Psalm on Episode 223) Galatians 5:22 Discovering joy through following God's ways Psalm 1:1-3 Psalm 19:8 Psalm 119:1-3 Reflecting on the relationship trials detailed in Romans 14 and 15 Focusing in on Romans 15:13 Observing God's role in joy and my role in joy Discovering that our joy is not only for ourselves   Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords Story Behind the Song "joy." by For King and Country - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Romans 14 and 15. Contemplate the big relationship picture you see there. Write out Romans 15:13 in your own hand. Make some observations. Reflect on what you’ve learned and incorporate it into writing the verse out in your own words. Respond to what God is teaching you through your study…either in prayer, repentance, or action. And then as you encounter trials lead out with joy!          


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    August 17, 2020 #337: "Before the Throne of God Above" by Shane & Shane

    My daughter read "Animal Farm" in middle school. Luckily she had a teacher who could unpack the symbolism and interpret the text in such a way that she understood and enjoyed the Orwell classic. Sometimes it takes a little extra study to understand the things we read in Scripture, too. Shane & Shane's rendition of "Before the Throne of God Above" sends us from Hebrews to the Old Testament and back to learn more about Jesus as our Great High Priest.     Pack your bags with a few nuggets of information mined on this week's podcast before you journey into the book of Hebrews for yourself. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Listen to an audio version of the text Consult outside resources Start with God/Jesus Make a list Compare and contrast The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Sneaking in a hymn because of the great truths repeated in every line The author and the original title of the hymn - Hymnary.org Getting distracted studying about Jesus as our advocate in 1 John 2:1-2 Reading the entire text of Hebrews to place your detailed study in context How "high priest" is mentioned 17 times in the book of Hebrews, making the priesthood of Jesus Christ a central theme Consulting outside resources to learn more about the role of the high priest - GotQuestions.org and Warren Wiersbe's Commentary on Hebrews Learning about the role of the high priest in the Old Testament (specifically duties on the Day of Atonement) - Leviticus 16 Starting with Jesus as we approach the text (instead of ourselves) Making an ongoing list of characteristics we discover about our Great High Priest Comparing and contrasting the high priests of the Old Testament and our new covenant High Priest   Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - WorshipChords.com What was the Biblical role of the high priest? - GotQuestions.org The High Priest's Purpose - Ligonier.org Jesus the Priest - Ligonier.org The Day of Atonement - BibleProject.com This Week's Challenge Read Hebrews for yourself. Try listening to an audio version of the entire text while keeping your attention on each mention of "high priest." Read Leviticus 16 to get clear on what was required of the high priest on the Day of Atonement. Make a list of characteristics you learn about your Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, who can provide complete salvation because of His perfect offering.


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    August 3, 2020 #335: "Great Things" by Phil Wickham

    When we declare our praises to God it impacts our own heart AND acts as a testimony to the world around us. Phil Wickham's song "Great Things" echoes another song in the Bible. It's a song that is part of a longer "playlist."     Let's discover one of the psalms on the "Song of Ascents" playlist together! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Meditate on Scripture Repetition Read in a variety of translations Listen to an audio version of the text Consult an outside resource The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE What the Songs of Ascent were - GotQuestions.org The great things of God sung about in Psalm 126 - Psalm 126:3 What Zion is - then and now Rejoicing in the great things of God in such a way that it draws the attention of others How the singers of this psalm were actually singing God's Word - Jeremiah 33:7-9 Referencing The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon "Present distress must not be viewed as if it would last forever; it is not the end, by any means, but only a means to the end." - Charles Spurgeon     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together Story Behind the Song "Great Things" by Phil Wickham - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read and meditate on Psalm 126 for yourself. Use the BITEs of repetition, listening to an audio version, and reading in a variety of translations to aid you in letting this psalm really sink in. You may even choose to expand your study time into the entire Song of Ascents “playlist.” And by all means, sing for joy! For He has done great things, and we are glad!    


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    July 27, 2020 #334: "Never Too Far Gone" by Jordon Feliz

    We can hide from God about as well as a toddler hiding under the dining room table in plain sight with eyes tightly shut. Just as He doesn't abandon us when we are trying to hide from Him, God doesn't abandon us when we stray from Him either. Jordan Feliz' song "Never Too Far Gone" leads us to consider the "before Christ" and "after Christ" impact on Paul.     Join me in two sections of Scripture this week as we reflect on the life of someone who seemed "too far gone." On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Complete a character study Remember that Paul was a real person Read or study to epic music playing in the background The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Christian songs solve the riddles of life with inspiration from music - Psalms 49:3-4 You can't hide from God...and He doesn't want you to - Psalm 139:7-12 Communion with God is summam bonum - the highest good - not checking off items on a list The summary Paul gives of himself and his conversion - Galatians 1:11-24 The actual account of Saul's conversion - Acts 9:1-25 The idea that Saul was HORRIBLE (think ISIS beheading kind of horrible) and even he was not "too far gone" for God to set apart and use Creating an environment to increase your probability of communion with God   Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Never Too Far Gone" by Jordan Feliz - NewReleaseToday.com Article Timeline of the life of the Apostle Paul - Blue Letter Bible This Week's Challenge Read all about the conversion of Saul in Acts 9. Try reading it with some "epic" music playing in the background. Read Paul's summary of his conversion in Galatians 1. Perhaps in either of these places, you may get lost in the story and keep reading! Don't forget that Paul was a real person and all of this really happened to him. Follow Paul's example and get away with God this week. Maybe play some soothing music that will quiet your soul as you move away from the checklist mentality and toward intimacy with God. Give Him space in your schedule and in your mind to speak to you.


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    July 20, 2020 #333: "There Was Jesus" by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton

    There is a poem that was popular in Christian circles when I was growing up about the journey of life. The poet questioned why God seemed missing in the most difficult seasons of life only to discover that He truly was there all the while. That is the same sentiment Zach Williams and Dolly Parton sing about in "There Was Jesus."     Similarly, we often don't realize Christ was present in the Old Testament, but this week's study shows He was there all the while. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Follow the cross references Complete a word study The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The story behind the song - YouTube Recognizing Jesus throughout Scripture - Luke 24:25 Reading the narrative of the exodus...starting at the beginning Finding ourselves wondering if the Lord is among us or not - Exodus 17:1-7 Discovering Jesus was there in the midst of the Hebrew people all along - 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Understanding that the needs of the people were real How "quarreling" in the text really meant screaming in Moses' face - BibleHub.com Word Study How even though they were lobbing their complaints at Moses, they were really showing a lack of trust in God Following the cross reference to Deuteronomy 8:11-20 Taking the warning of Scripture personally in my own journey Following the cross reference to Psalm 78 Recognizing the warnings in this psalm to have a steadfast heart toward God Discovering yet another place where our temporary status on this earth is highlighted - Psalm 78:39 and Episode 332   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship Story behind the song "There Was Jesus" by Zach Williams - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read and keep on reading the story of the exodus. Linger awhile in Exodus 17 and consider the details. Follow the cross-references to 1 Corinthians 10 to discover that Jesus was there among them all along. Dig deeper by following the cross references to Deuteronomy 8 and Psalm 78. Get lost in Scripture this week! 


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    July 13, 2020 #332: "Keep Me in the Moment" by Jeremy Camp

    I recently read, "One danger of the internet is the temptation to constantly be everywhere except where we are." How do we stay in the moment? Jeremy Camp sings of this in his song "Keep Me in the Moment." My preferred method is to immerse myself in Scripture.     Join me in soaking in the benefits of God as found in Psalm 103. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Consider the opposite Start with God Make a list Pray Scripture Meditate on Scripture Read in context Considering the opposite The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Recognizing that our lives are fleeting - Psalm 103:15-16 Staying in the moment by refocusing on God Studying the benefits we have in the Lord in Psalm 103 How blessing the Lord rightly places us on our knees before a holy God and reorients us from our relentless focus on self to ardent devotion to God Turning the benefits we discover in Psalm 103 into prayers of adoration and thanksgiving Considering the opposite of God's characteristics to amplify the truth Ending the way the psalm began   Additional Resources Lyrics - K-Love Klove Cover Story on Jeremy Camp - K-Love This Week's Challenge Read and meditate on Psalm 103 this week. Use the Bible Interaction Tool Exercises of starting with God and making a list of benefits from Him detailed in this psalm. Read the psalm out loud. Turn the words of the psalm into a prayer. And by all means, bless the Lord this week.


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    July 6, 2020 #331: “Fix My Eyes” by Kings Kaleidoscope

    When my daughter was in driver's education, I experienced something first hand...you steer where you stare. As you become a more seasoned driver you may be able to take your eyes off of the road and not immediately swerve, but you cannot stay straight without fixing your eyes on the path ahead. Scripture confirms this, and King's Kaleidoscope's song "Fix Your Eyes" helps up meditate on this truth.     Let's fix our eyes this week on what Scripture has to teach us about our faith and more. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Meditate Complete a word study Read in context Use different translations The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE How I originally wanted to put word-for-word Scripture to song and how others do it better - Music and resources at seedsfamilyworship.com God’s Word is Truth. Don’t let Christian music be a substitute for God’s Word. Using song as a form of meditation - Psalm 119:15 The Hebrew word translated "meditation" - Word Study on BibleHub Our Scripture focus areas - Hebrews 12:1-4, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Psalm 119:1-8 Meditating on Fixing my eyes Jesus as the founder and finisher of my faith The phrase in the lyrics…”the solace in your suffering is my strength” Additional Resources Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Spend some time in God’s Word this week. I recommend Hebrews 12, 2 Corinthians 4, and the first 8 verses of Psalm 119. They all join together as you pair it with meditation through singing “Fix My Eyes.” Allow God to unwind any faulty thinking you encounter as you give Him room to speak to your heart.


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    June 29, 2020 #330: "The Blessing" by Elevation Worship, Kari Jobe, & Cody Carnes

    I love songs that sing Scripture word-for-word. Elevation Worship does just that with their song "The Blessing." It takes us straight to Numbers 6 where we have an opportunity to really soak in God's Word.     Let's meditate on Scripture this week as we hide God's Word in our hearts through song. On this week’s episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Meditate on Scripture Complete a word study Start with God Consider the opposite The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The call in Scripture to meditate on God's precepts - Psalm 119:15 If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate The blessing given by God in Numbers 6:22-27 Focusing on God first as we ponder this blessing The origin of this blessing was from the desire of the LORD to bless His people  The benefits of the blessing are dependent upon the characteristics and actions of the LORD Noticing all of the references to speaking Recognizing that priests were to speak the blessing Pondering the fact that believers in Christ are a royal priesthood - 1 Peter 2:9-10 How the favor and protection spoken in this blessing is repeated in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 Picturing the shining face of God leaned over in favor and unmerited grace Considering the opposite of God's face turned toward us - Isaiah 59:1-2 The blessing of being a people belonging to God   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together "The Blessing" by Elevation Worship - Living Room Session - YouTube Weekly Challenge This week's challenge doesn't include a lot of Scripture reading. It does, however, require your undivided attention as you meditate on the words of the blessing given to Aaron and his sons to speak over God's people in Numbers 6. It will be easy for you to commit the words of this blessing to memory if you haven't already. Just sing along with Elevation Worship as they render Scripture as a song in "The Blessing."


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    June 22, 2020 #329: "Love" by We Are Messengers

    Loneliness may be a time when we long to huddle close to to the love of God. We Are Messengers sings a message from God to the lonely in their song "Love." The apostle John issues a challenge to believers when it comes to the love of God. The song and Scripture come together on this week's podcast.     Let's dive into 1 John and see what we can learn together. On this week’s episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read and keep on reading Read an overview/introduction to the book Repetition Read in a variety of translations Complete a word study Consider the opposite The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The story behind the song - YouTube Knowing and believing the love the God has for us - 1 John 4:16 Learning about how the apostle John centers his message on "the application of basic tests in one's life to confirm that salvation has truly occurred" - BlueLetterBible.org Introduction Focusing in on 1 John 4:7-21 Recognizing the link between loving God and loving others - 1 John 4:7-12 A discussion of how God's love was revealed A word study on "propitiation" - BibleHub.com Considering the opposite of God's love - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Following John's reasoning regarding abiding Understanding that our unbroken relationship with God is inextricably linked to our ability to love each other A word study on "perfected" - BibleHub.com How the teaching of love without fear is in the direct context of our love for others   Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove "Love" by We Are Messengers Story Behind the Song - YouTube Weekly Challenge Let the truth of God’s Word challenge you this week as you study the link between God’s love for us and our love for others. Read 1 John all the way through, get your overall bearings through a good introduction, and then dig into the focus area of 1 John 4:7-21.


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    June 15, 2020 #328: "Peace Be Still" by Hope Darst

    The Bible says God is not a God of fear. The Bible says that God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. It is the peace of God we need, but it is the Prince of Peace who must rule in our hearts and minds to defeat fear. God brings healing through His Word and that is what we will be exploring using Hope Darst's song "Peace Be Still" as a point of inspiration.     We see God calming the waves in Psalm 107. Let's explore it together! On this week’s episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Following the cross reference Reading in context Read repetitively Start with God Compare and contrast The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The story behind the song - YouTube How God's peace isn't a promised feeling or state of mind, but a Person -- and we meet the person of Jesus Christ in the revealed Word of God Getting inspiration from our lyrics that lead to Mark 4 and then following the cross reference to Psalm 107 - Psalm 107:29 Understanding the genre of Psalm 107 to help us read it properly Ditching the "what's in it for me" mentality and starting with God Comparing and contrasting the four types of redeemed and where God gathered them from How all four types of people described in Psalm 107 got to the bottom of life and cried out to God - Psalm 107:28 The call to wisdom in considering the steadfast love of the Lord - Psalm 107:43   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship "Peace Be Still" by Hope Darst Story Behind the Song - YouTube Weekly Challenge Heed the call of the psalmist and choose the wise way. Spend this week considering the steadfast love of the Lord. I recommend staying in Psalm 107 and reading it repeatedly and then using the pattern laid out in the podcast to compare and contrast the different types of redeemed. 


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    June 8, 2020 #327: "Still Rolling Stones" by Lauren Daigle

    What constitutes a miracle to you? How about raising a dead man to life? Of course! Did you know that miracle is available to us as well? That's what Lauren Daigle sings about in her song, "Still Rolling Stones." We learn straight from the words of Jesus on this episode.     Explore a familiar story with me in John 11. On this week’s episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Read in a variety of translations Write in your Bible The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Reading the account of Christ's resurrection in all four gospels Choosing the stone rolling incident in John 11 - John 11:39 Why I use the English Standard Version to study - Bonus article by Wayne Grudem Letting things "rise to the surface" by reading repetitively Doing the work of interacting with God's Word to get results Focusing on what we DO understand before getting thrown off by what we don't understand in a text Exploring some "so" and "so that"s in the text Lazarus' illness was for God's glory SO THAT the Son of God may be glorified - John 11:4 Jesus loved the sisters and Lazarus, so he waited to go meet them in their grief - John 11:5 Jesus was glad he wasn't there so that they would believe - John 11:14-15 Recognizing that we don't always know God's motive and big-picture plan (even though we often ascribe motive to Him anyway) Exploring exactly what Jesus wanted us to "believe" since he said it 6 of the 9 times it was mentioned in this chapter - John 11:25-26 Stepping out in faith to believe Jesus so that we too can be called from death to eternal life Recognizing that there were people who witnessed this miraculous event and still chose not to believe     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship The Advantages of the English Standard Version (ESV) Translation - by Wayne Grudem (on the translation team of the ESV Bible) - online article Weekly Challenge Read John 11. Read John 11 several times and in several translations. Mark in your Bible, or print out a version you feel comfortable marking up and highlight the areas where the word "believe" is used. That is the theme I don't want you to miss. Explore the conjunction "so" as well, pondering the reason and explanation clauses surrounding it.


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    June 1, 2020 #326: "Absent From Flesh" by Sojourn feat. Jamie Barnes

    One way to gain perspective in a dark and confusing time is to consider eternity. Let an old hymn guide your thoughts like "Absent From Flesh" written by Isaac Watts, but brought back to life by Sojourn and Jamie Barnes. Our suffering here is temporary, but God has a permanent home all planned out for His children.     Let's explore this together by diving in to Scripture in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians. On this week’s episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read and keep on reading Read the introduction Consult an outside resource Ask questions The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE Isaac Watts, the original author of this hymn Our inspiration verse in the King James Version uses the word "absent" - 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 Reading in context by starting at the beginning of 2 Corinthians 5 Discovering the confusing nature of 2 Corinthians when consulting an outside resource that confirms our feeling Gaining perspective by reading the historical context found in an introduction of a study Bible or a resource like "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart Discovering what circumstances motivated Paul to write about being absent from our earthly flesh and present with the Lord - 2 Corinthians 4 Allowing God to unravel fear of the unknown in the present with the hope of the future The theme of how God has sought to dwell with us since the beginning Beginning with the end - Revelation 21:1-3 In the garden - Genesis 3 In the tabernacle in the wilderness - Exodus 29:45-46 In the temple - 1 Kings 8 In Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:19, John 2:19,21 In us - 1 Corinthians 3:16 "We started with God coming down to earth to fellowship with man. We end with man going up to God in heaven to dwell with Him forevermore." - C.W. Slemming, "Made According to Pattern: The Tabernacle of Ancient Israel" Discovering why the song sings of the angels pointing our way - Luke 16:22   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Sojourn Church Weekly Challenge Spend some time considering what Scripture teaches about what it will be like when we are "absent from flesh." Study 2 Corinthians 5 considering each phrase. Reflect on the context of the suffering Paul had been enduring as he entered this discussion. Reorient your perspective as the light of Scripture shines on your current hopes and fears.


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    May 25, 2020 #325: "Better Word" by Elevation Worship

    To know if something is “better” than something else, you need to understand both sides completely. Elevation Worship’s song “Better Word” sends us to the Old Testament and the New to see why the blood of Christ speaks the better word. I can’t wait to journey from Genesis to Hebrews with you this week. On this week’s episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Compare and contrast Follow the cross reference Read in context Make a list The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The inspiration verse that speaks of the “better word” - Hebrews 12:24 Following the cross reference to read the story of Abel - Genesis 4:1-12 How Scripture uses personification to help us understand the comparison and contrast between the blood of Christ and the blood of Abel How Abel's blood cries out for vengeance while Christ's blood cries out for forgiveness for the children of God Reading Hebrews 12 in context while consider the story of Cain and Abel Making a list comparing and contrasting the old and new covenants described in Hebrews 12 Weekly Challenge Read Hebrews 12 in context. There are so many things to compare and contrast in this chapter. When there is an Old Testament reference like Abel and Esau, track down the cross reference and study up on those accounts as well. Make a list of the characteristics of the old covenant and the new covenant as described in Hebrews 12.  


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    May 18, 2020 #324: "I Lift My Hands" by Chris Tomlin

    Does it matter the position of our body if our heart is sincere in worship? I believe we can acknowledge things about God through our physical posture. Chris Tomlin's song "I Lift My Hands" leads us to consider one position mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In fact, David often speaks of body position in the Psalms.     Join me in Psalm 28 to see what we can discover about posture, worship, prayer, and God. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consider a topic Make observations Refer to an outside resource (this week...a sermon) The 30 Day Music Challenge - ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE HERE The "rest of the story" behind the song - A sermon by Louie Giglio, "I Lift My Hands" The progression of engaging God's Word Skip over the parts you don't understand Dig a little deeper into the meaning/definitions/stories - a Cliff's Notes of sorts Read the original texts for yourself Study and engage with the text for it to sink in Will the sermon or devotional that really "touches your heart" be less meaningful because you've never taken the time to read the reference in context? Yes. How the lifting of hands means different things in different contexts David's cry to the Lord with his hands raised - Psalm 28:1-2 The importance of actually calling on God (not just thinking about calling on God) How prayer should not be our last resort David's heart is postured in worship and his body reflects that as well - Psalm 28:1-2 God is higher...as seen in the story of the Tower of Babel - Genesis 11:1-9   Additional Resources Lyrics Chords Story Behind the Song "I Lift My Hands" by Chris Tomlin - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 28. Make some observations as you read — I always find it helpful to write them down. Don’t just consider the two verses we focused in on — read the whole Psalm. Consider exploring other postures of worship mentioned in God’s Word and read about them in context — making observations along the way.    


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    May 11, 2020 #323: "New Today" by Micah Tyler

    God is unlimited in His resources. I know this in my head, but for some reason I believe the lie that He will limit His mercy to me. As if one day I will reach my limit and get cut off. Micah Tyler in his song "New Today" reminds us of the truth found in Scripture -- His mercies are new every morning.     Let's explore the steadfast love of the Lord in Lamentations this week. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consider the historical context Read the introduction in a study Bible or other type resource Follow the cross references Meditate on what you're reading The 30 Day Music Challenge - SIGN UP HERE How I was inspired to head over to Lamentations by the lyrics of the song - Lamentations 3:22-23 Reading all of Lamentations in one sitting and feeling a little confused Discovering the literary style of the book is poetry and the chapter I was studying is a stand-alone acrostic poem Exploring the historical narrative behind what the poet is lamenting about in 2 Kings 24-25 How sometimes our view of God gets distorted in our sorrow The value of putting our sorrows into words, and then lifting our eyes to the Father Discovering that if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate How God doesn't have a limited supply of mercy The elements in the poem that will help us process our own laments   Additional Resources Lyrics - CCM Magazine The story behind the album "New Today" by Micah Tyler - CCM Magazine This Week's Challenge Read Lamentations for yourself. Perhaps you’ll want to study a different one of the poems of lament in this book than the chapter we focused on in this episode. Read the introduction to Lamentations in a study Bible or online introduction to orient yourself to the historical context of the poems, and to learn more about the genre and literary style of the book. Don’t forget each chapter is a stand alone poem. Finally, go ahead and state your sorrows. Be as dramatic as you feel. But in the end, lift your face to your Father and rehearse His goodness. Don’t forget! If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate, so choose to meditate on HIM!


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    May 4, 2020 #322: "See a Victory" by Elevation Worship

    We live in the now and the not yet. So many promises of God are available to us now, but will be completely fulfilled in the future promise of the new heavens and new earth. Elevation Worship sings of God's ultimate triumph in their song "See a Victory." It sent me to the prophecies of Isaiah where we learn much about God and His promises.     Followers of Christ can find themselves in this text. Let's dive in! On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consider the historical context Consult outside resources Repetition Follow the cross references Ask questions The 30 Day Music Challenge - SIGN UP HERE Getting inspired by a song lyrics, a phrase, a sermon, or a devotion and letting it send you to sections of Scripture where you can stay and interact awhile My pattern of study this week Read Isaiah 52-55 daily Read in different translations Ask questions along the way Consult outside resources last The Bible Project overview of Isaiah Utilizing the resource, "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart - Amazon Link Exploring Isaiah 55 - Episode 124 of More Than a Song The glorious future of God's people after the suffering servant completes His purpose The old covenant people as the barren woman in Isaiah 54:1-3 Following the cross reference to Galatians 4:21-28 Recap of the stories of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah - Genesis 16, 21 As followers of Christ we are children of the Spirit, and thus children of the promise The certainty of the promises of God rest in the person of God - Isaiah 54:5 How our heritage includes the ability to refute every tongue that accuses us AND the promise that no weapon formed against us will prosper - Isaiah 54:17 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship The story behind the song "See a Victory" by Elevation Worship - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Isaiah 52-55 for yourself! Watch The Bible Project overview videos to ground your personal study time. Allow yourself to be taught by the Lord Himself through His glorious Word. Meditate on the characteristics of God you discover in these passages, and rest in the peace and hope He offers here.


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    April 27, 2020 #321: "Love Moved First" by Casting Crowns

    Have you ever heard something that sounded like it came from the Bible, but in fact, didn't? Casting Crowns song "Love Moved First" reminded me of a phrase I sometimes hear that is just flat out wrong. In this case, the truth is so much more amazing.     Join me on a quest for truth in the book of John. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Follow the cross references Complete a word study The 30 Day Music Challenge - SIGN UP HERE The error in the phrase "I found God" That salvation belongs to the Lord - John 6:44 "The reason we think people are seeking after God when they’re not is that they are desperately and earnestly seeking for those things that only God can give them..." - Thomas Aquinas, a theologian from the middle ages Reading the context of John 6:45 by reading John 5-7 Finding out "there is no one who seeks God" - Romans 3:10-12 Following the cross references to Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 How every aspect of man’s salvation is from God and is entirely dependent upon God -- the only work of God for us is to believe in the one he has sent - John 6:29 Completing a word study on the word "believe" from John 6:29 - BibleHub.com God's will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life   Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove.com The story behind the song "Loved Moved First" by Casting Crowns - YouTube Video "What does it mean that God draws us to salvation?" - GotQuestion.org Article "If "no one seeks for God," why did Paul call his listeners to seek God?" - Ligonier.org Video and Article This Week's Challenge Read John 5-7. Focus in on John 6:24-70 — we didn’t get to all of it on the podcast today. Consider what the people were saying, asking, and believing. Read slowly and clearly what Jesus’ response is. Do the actual words of Jesus contradict anything you had previously believed? It’s really important for us to know what God’s Word actually says. I’m so proud of you for reading it for yourself.


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    April 20, 2020 #320: "You Already Know" by JJ Heller

    Today has not caught God off-guard. No matter the circumstance you find yourself in, He's already there and He already knows what will happen next. JJ Heller's new song, "You Already Know," reminds us of God's omniscience -- the attribute of God that means He is all-knowing. Join me in exploring this attribute of God in Scripture this week. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore a topic Utilize outside resources Follow the cross-reference Consider the opposite Meditate on truth Pray Scripture God knows everything - 1 John 3:20 Trusting man (or our own hearts) is not a good idea - Jeremiah 17:5-10 God has never learned and cannot learn - Isaiah 40:13-14 God's knowledge is unfathomably deep - Romans 11:33-36 Meditating on the depth of the knowledge of God AW Tozer's book, "Knowledge of the Holy" God's deep and purposeful knowledge - Isaiah 46:8-11 The deeply personal nature of God's knowledge - Psalm 90:8 Our inability to "hide" from our all-knowing God - Psalm 139:7-12 God's steadfast love (despite knowing everything about us) - Isaiah 54:10 Jen Wilkin's book, "None Like Him" Praying for God to reveal and enlighten our hearts - Ephesians 1:16-21 Additional Resources Lyrics - genius.com "What does it mean that God is omniscient?" - GotQuestions.org "The Knowledge of the Holy" by AW Tozer - Amazon.com "None Like Him" by Jen Wilkin - Amazon.com This Week's Challenge Meditate on God’s omniscience this week — we’ve only scratched the surface. Follow-up on the listing of Scriptures found in the show notes to read them for yourself in context. Perhaps even consider reading one of the outside resources I referenced to increase your understanding of the attributes of God.


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    April 13, 2020 #319: "Let There Be Wonder" by Matt Redman

    I'm on a mission to allow awe and wonder to be a part of my daily existence. I don't have to look far, I just have to let it in. I also have to reorient where I'm looking. Most of all, I need to lay myself down. In Matt Redman's song, "Let There Be Wonder," he calls us to worship the King in reverence and awe.     The lyrics of this week's song also brings us to the birthplace of the Christian church. The perfect segue post resurrection Sunday. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read and keep on reading Meditate on Scripture Storying - retelling the story of Scripture in your own words Utilize outside resources Luke as the author of both Luke and Acts - Acts 1:1-3 Considering the end of Luke before diving into Acts - Luke 24:44-53 Following the cross reference to Luke 3:16 in anticipation of baptism of Holy Spirit Jesus ascending to heaven on a cloud...a HUGE source of wonder - Acts 1:6-11 Letting yourself sit in the scene of the narrative The relevance of what comes after the BUT in Acts 1:8 Becoming familiar enough with the scene to retell the story in your own words Discovering what happened in the upper room - Acts 1:12-14, Acts 2:1-3 Learning more about the day of Pentecost from gotquestions.org     Additional Resources Lyrics and charts - WeAreWorship.com "What is the day of Pentecost?" - GotQuestions.org This Week's Challenge On this episode we have merely introduced the first couple of chapters of Acts. Read them for yourself and then meditate on any aspects of the account that inspires wonder. Promises fulfilled, power from on high, Jesus ascending on a cloud and tongues of fire are all details you don’t want to skip over.


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    April 6, 2020 #318: "Like You Love Me" by Tauren Wells

    God is not a "because I said so" Father. He is patient with our shortcomings and proves Himself over and over. He explains, and displays, and explains again. Tauren Wells in his song, "Like You Love Me" reminds us that every moment given to worry is wasted time. Jesus makes the same argument...and several others to support His instruction not to be anxious. In these times of uncertainty, let's look to what Jesus teaches as arguments why we should NOT be anxious. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Ask questions Remember the people you're reading about were real Follow the cross reference Compare and contrast Reading the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety - Matthew 5-7 Asking the questions, "Who are Jesus' disciples?" and "What would their needs be as they are listening to this sermon?" Our focus text - Matthew 6:24-34 Jesus' main point repeated FIVE times - "DO NOT BE ANXIOUS" A valuable video resource by John Piper called "Look at the Book" - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 The nine arguments of Christ to prove that we should not be anxious Following the cross-reference to 1 Kings 3 to study about how Solomon asked for wisdom, but God lavished more The final argument that there will be trouble every day, but Lamentations 3:20-24 reminds us that His mercies are new every morning Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove "Do Not Be Anxious About Your Life" - audio and transcribed sermon by John Piper - DesiringGod.org This Week's Challenge Read the entire sermon of Jesus beginning in Matthew 5 and ending in Matthew 7. Take your time considering the section of teaching found Matthew 6:24-34. Consider the main point that Jesus is trying to make -- "Do not be anxious." Analyze the supporting arguments found in this text. Contemplate if you have fully received each argument and been transformed by its teaching and truth.


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    March 30, 2020 #317: "I Know" by Big Daddy Weave

    "Did you hear me?" When I don't receive a response from my husband or my children after I asked them to do something, I often ask, "Did you hear me?" How many times do we wonder if God hears us? Big Daddy Weave's song "I Know" recounts the goodness of God, but it's a lyric in the opening verse that caught my attention this week. Join me in exploring Solomon's prayer of dedication of the newly constructed temple. His prayer repeats a request that God would hear when we call to him. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read and keep on reading Reference section headings to get your bearings Mark up the text Make a list Repetition Reading the Bible through in a year by reading for a set amount of time vs. a specific number of chapters Getting our bearings in 2 Chronicles using section headings to bring us to the prayer of dedication for the temple Marking up the text in 2 Chronicles 6, noting every mention of the word "hear" The poetic form and structure of Solomon's prayer - 2 Chronicles 6 Making a list of "if" and "when" statements in Solomon's prayer Noting that almost every request for God to "hear" is paired with a request for forgiveness due to a heart of repentance The prayer that God would give according to our hearts and our ways (a.k.a. scary prayer) - 2 Chronicles 6:30 Acknowledging God's power - 2 Chronicles 6:3-4 A sincere desire to glorify the name of God - 2 Chronicles 6:7-9 God's response to Solomon's prayer - 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Praise Charts The Story Behind the Album with "I Know" by Big Daddy Weave - TheChristianBeat.org This Week's Challenge Read 2 Chronicles 1-7. Sit awhile in chapter 6 as you read, study, and interact with Solomon's prayer of dedication of the temple. Consider the Lord's response in chapter 7 in context of the prayer. Ask the Lord to hear your prayer that He would reveal your ways and your heart. Repent, and then ask Him to align your heart and your ways to HIS ways.


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    March 23, 2020 #316: “Alive and Breathing” by Matt Maher feat. Elle Limebear

    God is worthy of our praise. If He did nothing else for us until the day we see Him face-to-face, we could spend the rest of our days praising Him because of Who He is and what He has already done. Matt Maher's song "Alive and Breathing" reminds us of this truth and then leads us in praise to The One Who is worthy. Follow me to the psalms as we interact with God's Word this week. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Consult outside resources Slow down Write out Scripture by hand Write out Scripture in your own words The current world pandemic and how if we're still alive and breathing we need to be praising the Lord How Matt Maher mentions Psalm 150 in an interview about the song - Psalm 150 The introduction to Psalm 150 in The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon A previous episode where I dove into Psalm 150 in depth - Episode 280 Everywhere, in every way, for who He is AND what He does…if we have breath in our lungs we are to PRAISE. THE. LORD. Writing out Scripture by hand and then writing it out in our own words How the lyric "joy still comes in the morning" sent me over to Psalm 30 Joy coming in the morning and Jesus being our bright and morning start - Revelation 22:16 God's Word and current revelation is a lamp, but Jesus' return is the day dawning - 1 Peter 1:16-21 A new resource I tried - Ask Ligonier Taking off our funeral clothes and putting on a garment of gladness and praise Additional Resources Lyrics, chords, and song session - Essential Worship The Story Behind the Song "Alive and Breathing" by Matt Maher - Radio Station Article This Week's Challenge I hope that you can take some really intentional time this week to sing your praises and not be silent. If you are still alive and breathing, PRAISE THE LORD knowing that joy comes in the morning. Write out Psalm 150 — then write it out in your own words. Study Psalm 30 and meditate on the glory of our bright and morning star, Jesus Christ.


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    March 16, 2020 #315: "Smile" by Sidewalk Prophets

    There are times in life with something Scripture teaches smacks you right in the face and causes you to sit up and pay attention. When I was growing up in church people would say the pastor was "stepping on their toes" in a sermon. The lyrics in the song "Smile" by Sidewalk Prophets are reflective of truth found in Scripture. Perhaps choosing joy during difficulty is easier to sing about than do. Come spend some time in a few verses in the book of James with me this week as learn more about choosing joy. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Listen to an audio version of Scripture Read the envelope Review the introduction in your study Bible or online Consult a variety of translations Complete a word study A women's conference next month where I am the guest speaker - Event Information The coronavirus pandemic causing us all to sit up straight when we read in Scripture to choose joy - James 1:2-4 How the Bible has a lot to say about joy (59+ occurrences in the New Testament and 93+ in the Old Testament) Reading the envelope of the letter from James - who is the letter from, to, and when was it written? How scholars believe the letter from James was the first of its kind as it is probably the oldest book of the New Testament The joy that James is talking about is not an emotional response, but rather a deep seated sense of confidence and well-being that transcends circumstances Reading in a variety of translations to get a fuller picture of a word or phrase - BibleHub.com Letting joy have authority in our lives when we face trials - Episode 224 Doing a word study on "steadfastness" - BibleHub.com Doing a word study on "perfect" - BibleHub.com Christ-like character as my ultimate destination Additional Resources How do I know James is possible the oldest book in the New Testament? - BibleStudyTools.com Article Lyrics - Klove.com The Story Behind the Song "Smile" by Sidewalk Prophets - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Dive into the letter from James this week. If you’re like me, you read it through once (or listen to it in less than 15 minutes) and then sit and soak in verses 2-4. Read in a variety of translations. Take a shot at reading the word-study summaries available to you. Be honest with the Lord about how hard the trials of your life are, but thank him that he has revealed a purpose for them right here in his Word.


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    March 9, 2020 #314: "Edge of My Seat" by TobyMac

    I want to increase my "wonder level" when it comes to how I view my God. TobyMac sings of a change of posture in his song "Edge of My Seat." Lean in to Scripture with me this week. Let's sit on the edge of our seat in anticipation and appreciation for all the Lord will do and has done. Explore Psalm 40 with me this week and see where it connects in the New Testament. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Restate the Scripture in your own words Write your prayers around the Scripture you are studying Follow the cross references Make a list The book I've been reading about awe - "Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do" by Paul David Tripp The story behind the song "Edge of My Seat" by TobyMac - YouTube Video Viewing life from the edge of our seat is a posture of the heart My own "edge of my seat" experience, and what I learned - Jeremiah 29:13 Simeon as a biblical example of someone sitting on the edge of their seat - Episode 303 Our inspiration verse that places us in Psalm 40 for the week - Psalm 40:5 Writing this verse in my own words and composing prayers along the way Discovering Jesus in this Psalm as proven by the cross reference in Hebrews - Psalm 40:6-8, Hebrews 10:1-18 Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove.com "Edge of My Seat" by TobyMac Song Story - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Study Psalm 40 this week. Interact with God’s Word. Restate these verses in your own words. Add your prayers back to God in what you are writing. Follow the cross reference to Hebrews 10 and see the wondrous act of our Savior as the final sacrifice for our sin. May our posture be that of wondrous expectation, and may God meet us there.


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    March 2, 2020 #313: “I'm Listening” by Chris McClarney Ft. Hollyn

    In the 1970's and 1980's there was an ad that ran for a brokerage firm that said, "When E.F. Hutton talks...people listen." May the same be true for us as it relates to the God of the universe! He has spoken, may He find us listening. Chris McClarney and Hollyn sing of this in the song "I'm Listening." Let’s discuss the ways God speaks and be reminded of the importance of His written words in our lives. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Utilize an outside resource Read in context Using Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology to guide our discussion on the different forms of the Word of God That the Word of God is Jesus - John 1:1-14 That God's decrees are words of God that cause something to happen like "let there be light" in Genesis 1 How God would sometimes speak directly to people - Genesis 2, Exodus 20, Matthew 3 That God would speak through His prophets - Jeremiah 1:4-9 That we have God's words in written form God wrote them with His own finger - Exodus 31:18 Moses wrote down words of the law - Deuteronomy 31:9-13 Joshua wrote down words as the people entered the promised land - Joshua 24:26 Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would bring back to their minds all that happened - John 14:26, John 16:12-13 "The opportunity for repeated inspection of words that are written down permits careful study and discussion, which leads to better understanding and more complete obedience," says Wayne Grudem A matter of further explanation from Peter - 2 Peter 1:16-21 The 4 questions concerning the word of God out of the Westminster Longer Catechism Wayne Grudem's question, "Do you think you would pay more attention if God spoke to you from heaven or through the voice of a living prophet than if he spoke to you from the written Words of Scripture?" - Luke 16:19-31 Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - WorshipTogether.com This Week's Challenge Read the story Jesus tells in Luke 16 about the rich man and the poor man named Lazarus. Ponder the ultimate lesson that it teaches. Look up and examine the Scriptural proof texts for questions 3 through 6 of The Westminster Larger Catechism. Consider why it is profitable for us to study God’s words as written in the Bible. Don't just read God's words, really listen to them and let them change your life.


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    February 24, 2020 #312: "One More Song for You" by Casting Crowns

    Have all the songs been sung? Is there anything of value high enough to raise another song? YES! Casting Crowns, in their song "One More Song for You," reminds us that our God is worthy of a lifetime of songs sung to glorify Him. Even though every Psalm is a song, let's explore Psalm 104 this week and let it lead us to awe and one more song for Creator God. Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Get up early to read your Bible Mark up the text Write in your Bible Make a list Studying a smaller chunk of Scripture like a Psalm Trying to find a time of day to dedicate energy to studying the Bible Marking up our focus text of Psalm 104 to find a list of God's attributes Studying the psalm, remembering the genre, and enjoying the artistry of the writing (instead of being frustrated by it) Allowing what the psalmist describes about Creator God to lead us to awe and worship - Psalm 104:1-4 Pondering creation and the flood - Psalm 104:5-9, Genesis 1:1, Genesis 9:11 Why I think this is the "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" of Psalms - Psalm 104:10-13 A description of things in life that "gladden the heart of man" (and a reminder that they come from the Lord) - Psalm 104:14-15 A challenge to look up images or videos of things described in the Psalm with the express goal of sitting in awe and wonder - Psalm 104: 16-18 Allowing our meditations to be pleasing to God - Psalm 104:31-35 Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - GuitarTabsExplorer.com The heart behind the song "One More Song for You" by Casting Crowns - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Spend some time in Psalm 104 this week. One thing we didn’t get to on this episode is to highlight the verbs or action words that describe how God acts. What aspects of God’s actions can lead you to wonder and praise this week? Identify parts of creation that strike you as magnificent and review images or videos and allow them to lead you to give praise to Creator God.


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    February 17, 2020 #311: "Waymaker" by Leeland

    God will make a way where there seems to be no way. He proves it over and over throughout Scripture. He will make a way for His purposes to be accomplished. He truly is a "Waymaker" as Leeland sings about in this week's song. Join me in 1 Samuel as we see David walking through some treacherous and emotional times where He really needed God to make a way. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read while listening to an epic soundtrack Remember the people you read about in Scripture were REAL Read and keep on reading Read in context Consider the grand story of Scripture to ground you Reading the Bible in chronological order (check out the Rapid Bible Read Through method here) Experiencing a different "feel" while reading epic stories in Scripture to epic music How God makes a way for HIS story to move forward to fulfill HIS purposes for HIS glory first Studying individual stories with the big picture in mind Discovering Saul being installed as king in 1 Samuel 8 Seeing God reject Saul as king - 1 Samuel 15:10-11 Experiencing David's anointing as the new king - 1 Samuel 16:12-13 Seeing the relationship between Saul and David take a turn in 1 Samuel 18:6-16 David becoming a fugitive in 1 Samuel 20 David's band of rebels growing in 1 Samuel 22 David sparing Saul's life in 1 Samuel 24 David's heart laid out in Psalm 56 Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - WeAreWorship.com The story behind how the song "Waymaker" made it onto the album - Thir.st Talks This Week's Challenge Become familiar with the story of David and Saul by reading in 1 Samuel. Rest in the knowledge that even for King David the struggle was real. Speaking of real…don’t forget that the people in these stories were real. Read and keep on reading, and then take the time to consider how God proved Himself a “Waymaker,” a Miracle Worker, and a Light in the darkness for David. Finally, take time to declare God’s goodness. Render thank offerings to a worthy Savior Who has delivered our souls from death that we may walk in the light of life.


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    February 10, 2020 #310: "King of Kings" by Hillsong Worship - Part 2

    There are so many words we use to describe our faith. Repentance. Redemption. Reconciliation. Just like the word "gospel" itself, it's important to really know, not only how to define these words, but to understand what they mean for us as believers in Christ. Hillsong Worship's song "King of Kings" takes us on a journey using these words. Let's discover what they mean in Scripture. Let's continue to use our song to inspire us to skip through Scripture to understand the good news of Christ. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Meditation Read and keep on reading Follow the cross-references Considering the big story (metanarrative) How Jesus took up the mantle of His forerunner to declare the kingdom coming - Mark 1:14 How Jesus revealed the kingdom of God through parables - Mark 4:10-12 The study challenge of finding and studying Christ's parables about the kingdom of God (hint: there are several in Mark 4) Reconciliation as the restoration of a broken relationship How Jesus came to reconcile the lost - Romans 5:6-11 How we have been given the ministry of reconciliation - 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 The definition of redemption and how Christ came to pay the price our sin demanded - Colossians 1:15-23 Jesus enduring the cross, despising its shame - Hebrews 12:2 The transformational impact in our lives in the context of Hebrews 12:1-4 Reading about the resurrection in Mark 16, Matthew 28, Luke 24, and John 20 Reading about the birth of the Church in the book of Acts The Spirit's flames in Acts 2:1-3 Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords (and piano tutorial in the New Song Cafe) - WorshipTogether.com The story behind the song "King of Kings" by Hillsong Worship - New Release Today article This Week's Challenge Choose one of the places we’ve gone in this episode and in Episode 309 and study and soak. Use Bible Interaction Tool Exercises (I call them BITEs for short). Try the BITE of meditation -- really ponder and think, don’t just read or listen in soundbites and move on. Use the BITE of following the cross-references -- I mentioned one from Isaiah on today’s episode. Use the BITE of read and keep on reading -- perhaps you start reading Acts because of the lyric, “the church of Christ was born and the Spirit lit the flame,” and you just keep reading that amazing book.


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    February 3, 2020 #309: "King of Kings" by Hillsong Worship - Part One

    If I asked you to share "the gospel" with me, could you do it? I think the word gospel is one of those words that Christians use often and the assumption is that if we use it enough, then people will automatically know what it means. Hillsong United's song, "King of Kings" shares the message of the gospel...the good news of Christ...in a beautiful and clear way. Let's discover the truth of Scripture behind the lyrics of this song together. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Considering the big story (metanarrative) How your time in Scripture will "add up" until you can make the links on your own The darkness and emptiness of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2) as an example of the spiritual darkness and emptiness of people without Christ How Zechariah's prophesy over his son John included a mention to the light and mercy mentioned in the song - Luke 1:76-79 Jesus as the great light dawning - Matthew 4:12-17 The Light (Jesus) was in the beginning - John 1:1-13 Our Savior fulfills the law and prophets - Matthew 5:17-20 The law and the prophets bear witness about Christ - John 5:33-47 A more complete discussion of the prophecies fulfilled at the virgin birth - Episode 300 The stark contrast between our Savior's heavenly home and earthly sojourn - Philippians 2:6-7 Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords (and piano tutorial in the New Song Cafe) - WorshipTogether.com The story behind the song "King of Kings" by Hillsong Worship - New Release Today article This Week's Challenge Meditate on these areas of Scripture listed in the show notes above. Consider them in the context of where they were written and then ponder how every story whispers the name of Jesus. Finally, recount the goodness of God and offer your sacrifice of worship and PRAISE.


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    January 27, 2020 #308: "The God Who Stays" by Matthew West

    If your pattern is to closely examine small chunks of Scripture -- and you never zoom out to see the Grand Story -- you may miss out on the staying pattern of our faithful God. Matthew West's song "The God Who Stays" inspired me to take a fly over approach we see the method of our Master. Buckle up, we're going to fly high over a lot of ground, but I think it will give us an amazing perspective wherever we land in Scripture next. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Considering the big story (metanarrative) The reason why we are drawn to the "staying" characteristic of God - Psalm 94:14 Considering the whole of Scripture - all 66 books, over 40 authors, written over 1500 years The covenants of God and a useful tool from Bible Project to help you explore them - BibleProject.com Consider exploring further these areas of Scripture: Genesis 1-3 - creation and fall Genesis 6+ - the flood and the Noahic Covenant Genesis 11 - the Tower of Babel and the scattering Genesis 12 - the Abrahamic Covenant Exodus 14 - God's deliverance of His people by the blood of the lamb and by water with the crossing of the Red Sea Exodus 19-24 - the Mosaic Covenant Joshua and Judges - displaying the pattern of deliverance by God, rebellion by the people, crying out, rinse, and repeat 2 Samuel - the Davidic Covenant Kings and Chronicles - each king showing that they were not sufficient to bring the people in right relationship with God The New Testament as the Light of the World dawns breaking 400 years of silence and bringing all the nations (all who would respond) into the New Covenant Entering the New Covenant is made possible only by faith in Christ, who shed His blood to take away the sins of the world - Hebrews 8:6 Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords (and guitar tutorial) - EssentialWorship.com Bible Project - The Covenants in the Bible This Week's Challenge We covered a lot of ground today. If you would like to explore the big idea of covenant further, I highly recommend a resource on covenants by The Bible Project. If there is a story I highlighted that you’ve never read for yourself before, by all means, read it this week! If you just want to meditate on a chunk of Scripture as is our normal weekly pattern, I recommend Psalm 94.


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    January 20, 2020 #307: "Power" by We Are Messengers

    When Paul speaks of "power" in the New Testament he is referring to the supernatural active power available from God. We often want God to assign us power to keep moving ahead rather than operating in the power available through abiding with Him. We Are Messengers sings about this active energy in their song "Power." We seek out what Scripture says in context. Join me on a journey through 2 Corinthians. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Read in context Listen to an audio version of Scripture Repetition Read the introduction Complete a word study This week's song could have led us to the same area of Scripture as Episode 304...check it out HERE Getting inspired by the phrase in the lyrics " the new has come all the old is dead" which comes from 2 Corinthians 5:17 Not overthinking WHERE you spend time in Scripture...just picking a place and sticking with it Reading a letter all the way through before you pick apart smaller sections Reading the introduction to 2 Corinthians to learn things like, " The central theme of 2 Corinthians is the relationship between suffering and the power of the Spirit in Paul’s apostolic life, ministry, and message." - ESV Study Bible Completing a word study on "commend" as found in 2 Corinthians - BibleHub.com How "We are not commending ourselves" basically means "we are not reintroducing ourselves again" Our focus area of Scripture - 2 Corinthians 5:11-2 Corinthians 6:10 Not living for ourselves, or living as if this present life is all that matters The very things that Paul’s opponents used to discredit him, he lists as proof and defense - 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 How it’s not OUR power and our strength that We Are Messengers sing about this week -- it is GOD'S power Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - PraiseCharts.com Introducing We The Kingdom - how the band got together - YouTube video More information about John's baptism - GotQuestions.org When we forget the necessity for forgiveness, we become entitled. Check out this interesting article from ChurchLeaders.com. This Week's Challenge I hope you will take the challenge to start in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 and read all 13 chapters. If this week’s song is inspirational to you, spend some time looking for power and strength vs. weakness in this letter -- you may be surprised at what you discover. Read and keep on reading. You can do it!


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    January 13, 2020 #306: "Holy Water" by We The Kingdom

    So many times we lay our lists at the feet of the Father, asking for what we need (because He tells us to ask). Unfortunately, sometimes what we really need isn't obvious to us. We The Kingdom's song "Holy Water" celebrates the forgiveness of God. Let's join them. There's a story of faith, friends, forgiveness, and healing in the Gospel of Mark. But it doesn't play out like we would expect it. Let's explore it together this week. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Use section headings Making observations Writing down your observations Sharing with a friend Our key Scripture area - Mark 2:1-12 Getting our bearings to understand what is going on by previewing the section headings leading up to our key Scripture area How Jesus was starting to get so famous He could not enter towns freely - Mark 1:45 Not overthinking WHERE in Scripture we are studying, but also not being held back by preconceptions How Jesus was teaching as much as He was healing Making observations Who was in the room? What spoken words were recorded? What were the actions taken? (Hint: look for verbs) Defining the duties of Scribes - BlueLetterBible.org Observing that Jesus SAW their faith - James 2:14-17 A quote by John Piper, "'Son of Man' has the double meaning of human being and, according to Daniel 7, exalted heavenly one. And Jesus means to communicate both of those." - DesiringGod Article God's promise that if we confess our sins, He will forgive them - 1 John 1:9 Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - WorshipTogether.com More information about John's baptism - GotQuestions.org When we forget the necessity for forgiveness, we become entitled. Check out this interesting article from ChurchLeaders.com. This Week's Challenge Read Mark 2 for yourself. In fact, go ahead and start in Mark 1 and read through Mark 2 to read in context. Pull out a notebook and interact with God's Word. Write down your observations. Read with a friend and mark down observations together! Consider the emphasis Jesus put on forgiveness in this account. If you are a follower of Christ, celebrate His forgiveness freely given -- just repent, confess, and be purified.


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    January 6, 2020 #305: "Fighting For Me" by Riley Clemmons

    There are several examples in Scripture where God literally fought for His people -- they just had to stand still and watch. What were the characteristics of the people God fought for? Riley Clemmons' song "Fighting For Me" inspired me to explore one story in search of characteristics of faithful followers. Join me in the wilderness of Tekoa as we watch this story unfold. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Read and keep on reading Make a list Remember the people you are reading about in the Bible were REAL Descriptive vs. prescriptive - GotQuestions.org Article The beginning of the story of the battle God handled on His own - 2 Chronicles 20:1-4 Backing up to the beginning of Jehoshaphat's dad's beginning - 2 Chronicles 14 A list of reasons why God was with Jehoshaphat - 2 Chronicles 17:3-6 Being deeply committed to the ways of the Lord Jehoshaphat's influence on the people - ‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭17:7-9 How Jehoshaphat laid the foundation that led to his people's response in 2 Chronicles 20:4 How one big bad decision did not override the pattern of Jehoshaphat's devotion to God - 2 Chronicles‬ ‭19:1-3‬ ‭ How our cries to God for help (like Jehoshaphat) will be more meaningful when we've led a life devoted to Him - 2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:12‬ The fact that God WILL fight for us -- for HIS glory, not our own - Proverbs‬ ‭21:31‬ Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - TabsForWorship.com The story behind "Fighting For Me" by Riley Clemmons - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge We covered a great deal of ground today. To really soak in all that we discussed, go back as far as you’re willing (at least to King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14) and read through Jehoshaphat’s reign. If you’re inspired, feel free to keep on reading! Consider the pattern of King Jehoshaphat's life and how it directly impacted the results of his reign and his interactions with God.


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    December 30, 2019 #304: "Press On" by Building 429

    There is so much new about a new year. We make new goals and resolutions, and this year we're even embarking on a new decade! While a new year brings a fresh slate of days to try new things, let's make sure we're making progress toward the true prize of our calling. Building 429's song "Press On" inspired me to consider the difference between starting over and pressing on. Join me in a letter from Paul to the Philippians to see what we can learn. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in Context Use section headings to get your bearings Pondering the contrast between pressing on vs. starting over "Forgetting the past" doesn't mean we should keep starting over - Philippians 3:12-14 Getting in the habit of reading the entire letter (especially the shorter epistles) before focusing in on section Getting perspective as we gear up to press on - Philippians 3:1-4 The very background that is worthless toward salvation and is garbage compared to Christ, God uses to build His kingdom - Philippians 3:5-11 Keeping our eyes fixed on our heavenly calling as we PRESS ON Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - WorshipChords.net The story behind "Press On" by Building 429 - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read the entire letter to the Philippians at least once before you zero in on chapter 3. Consider the difference between starting over and pressing on. Pray and ask God if you need to rearrange your goals based on turning your gaze toward your heavenly calling.


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    December 23, 2019 #303: "Arrive" by Anna Miriam Brown

    We celebrate the arrival of Jesus Christ as a baby at Christmas. However, He's slated to arrive again. I wonder if there is anything we can learn from those who eagerly expected Christ's arrival the first time? Anna Miriam Brown's song "Arrive" inspired me to explore this question and more. I can't wait to introduce you to Simeon in the pages of Luke's account. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Observe Write down your observations Explore a topic Remember the people described in Scripture were real Follow the cross reference Make a list The musical this song comes from - HisStoryTheMusical.com The story behind His Story The Musical - YouTube Video The details of the week after Christ's arrival as a baby in the hay - Luke 2:21-24 Following the cross-reference to what the law requires - Leviticus 12 Meeting Simeon - Luke 2:28-35 The arrival of Jesus Christ was the culmination of God's great plan since before the foundation of the world - Galatians 4:4 Making a list of the qualities displayed in Simeon righteous devout eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel the Holy Spirit was upon him the Holy Spirit revealed things to him he followed the leading of the Holy Spirit As we await the second arrival of Christ may we display these characteristics as well Additional Resources Lyrics - BandCamp Link The story behind "His Story The Musical" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2 again this week. Keep your eye out for the details of the arrival. Slow down and consider Simeon who was forever recorded in history for us to know. The details of who he was were important enough for God to ensure they were included in Scripture, and we can learn so much from him as we eagerly await the arrival of Christ the second time.


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    December 16, 2019 #302: "Adore You" by River Valley Worship

    It's hard to adore someone you don't really think about. River Valley Worship reminds us in their song, "Adore You," that "unto us a child is born." This is something Isaiah first foretold, and his words are something worth pondering. Do you know anything about "throne names"? We'll explore Christ's throne names and more on this week's episode. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Meditation Read in context Slow down Repetition Meditating on Scripture through thoughtful reflection and contemplation Reading difficult sections of Scripture to "get it under your belt" Discovering passages of Old Testament Scripture that are Messianic prophesies through discovering their references in the New Testament - Matthew 4:12-17 Our focus area of Scripture - Isaiah 9:1-7 The Son being born - Matthew 1:23 The Son being given - John 3:16 The throne names of Jesus - Bible.org Article An example of a throne name in 2 Samuel 23:1 Meditating on the names of Christ in Isaiah 9:6 Wonderful counselor Mighty God Everlasting Father Prince of Peace The zeal of the Lord that made all of this come to pass Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Open Network The Glorious Messiah and the Messianic Age (Isaiah 9:1-7) - Bible.org article This Week's Challenge Keep reading in Matthew 1 and 2, Luke 1 and 2, and now add Isaiah 9. It's okay to meditate on the four names of Christ in this passage. You could follow some cross-references to learn more about how Christ displays these characteristics in Scripture. Be sure to read in context, even if it's just to give you the practice to incorporate this habit into your own Bible interactions.


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    December 9, 2019 #301: "The Name of Emmanuel" by Matt Redman

    What a name our Savior was given! Emmanuel - God With Us. Names in the Bible held great significance, and this one was no different. How exactly did God choose to BE "with us?" He arrived as a baby! This week we use Matt Redman's song, "The Name of Emmanuel" to explore the humanity of Christ. This is definitely something I have skimmed over in the past. I can't wait to share what I found with you! On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Make a List Meditation Explore a Topic Utilize an outside resource Exploring the topic of incarnation - a term used by theologians to indicate that Jesus, the Son of God, took on human flesh Starting in John 1:1-5, 9-14 and making a list of everything we learn about The Word During Jesus' earthly ministry no one questioned his humanity, but it wasn't long after Jesus' ascension that questions arose about this You see John trying to answer this argument in 1 John 4:1-3, and 2 John 1:7 Using a DesiringGod.org article as a jumping off point for further study The human body of Jesus He was born - Luke 2:7 He grew - Luke 2:40, 52 He got worn out - John 4:5-6 He got thirsty - John 19:28 He got hungry - Matthew 4:2 He got weak - Matthew 4:11, Luke 23:26 The heart and emotions of Emmanuel He marveled - Matthew 8:10 His soul was sorrowful - Matthew 26:28 He was deeply moved and troubled and wept - John 11:33-35 He prayed with loud cries and tear - Hebrews 5:7 Even though He was God, Jesus surrendered His human will to the Father - John 6:38, Matthew 26:39 How Jesus being LIKE us impacts His ministry TO us - Hebrews 2:5-18, Hebrews 4:14-16 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together Why wasn't Jesus named Emmanuel? - GotQuestions.org article The Importance of the Incarnation - Bible.org article Jesus is Fully Human by David Mathis - DesiringGod.org This Week's Challenge Keep reading Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. Continue making observations and writing them down. Take a little time this week to ponder the incarnation. Consider that this baby born in a manager is Emmanuel...God with us. Really take in both sides of The Word — His divinity and complete humanity.


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    December 2, 2019 #300: "It's Finally Christmas" by Casting Crowns

    It's the most wonderful time of year -- and the best time to pull out your Bible and read the Christmas story! Casting Crowns inspires us to do just that through their song "It's Finally Christmas." We are reminded that Jesus truly is the reason for the season. This week will lay the foundation for a few weeks of exploring the Christmas story. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Make observations (and write them down) Follow cross references Discuss with a friend Read and keep on reading Compare and contrast Repetition Using the Advent season to use Christmas music to inspire us to read Scripture Piecing together the traditional "story" by reading all the sources - Luke 1-2, Matthew 1-2, Isaiah 9:1-7 and more! Observing how important it was to Matthew to be sure the reader knew Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy Matthew 1:22 leads us to Isaiah Matthew 2:4 leads us to Micah Matthew 2:14 leads us to Hosea Matthew 2:16 leads us to Jeremiah Comparing and contrasting the details included in Luke vs. Matthew Examining the names in Matthew 1:1 Jesus Christ Abraham David Exploring the Abrahamic covenant - Genesis 12:1-3 Exploring a summary of the Davidic covenant - 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 Noticing the ladies mentioned in this genealogy Catching Matthew in a math "mistake" when he uses a little literary expertise to put an exclamation point on exactly WHO Christ is Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship Birth and Childhood of Christ - video and guide at TVC Resources Jesus & Genealogies - article and video at The Bible Project https://youtu.be/3Dv4-n6OYGI This Week's Challenge Follow the Bible Interaction Tool Exercise (BITE) of repetition. Read and re-read the story of the birth of Christ in Matthew and Luke. Write down new observations each time you read. Follow some of the cross references. Go read some of the stories of the ancestors of Christ. Familiarize yourself with the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants to see if you can spot Jesus as their ultimate fulfillment.


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    November 25, 2019 #299: "Thank You, Lord" by Dennis Jernigan

    How could I miss that? The answer is usually because I'm not paying attention. Dennis Jernigan's song, "Thank You, Lord," might not be a new worship anthem, but it gives us a great structure to linger in some areas of Scripture we've covered previously on the podcast. It will do our hearts good to go back over some ground we've covered to see if there might be something we missed that we can turn into thanksgiving to our God. Try a new technique to tarry in God's Word with new purpose. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: The color method Annotate Define words Pray Scripture Where I first heard this song (hint: it was a while back) Learning to linger by going back to sections of Scripture we've covered in previous episodes Psalm 148 - Episode 244 Daniel 6 - Episode 245 Jonah 2 - Episode 246 Isaiah 26 - Episode 247 Using this week's song as the structure for our study and the color method to interact with God's Word for all that You've done for all that You're going to do for all that You've promised for all that You are How God is splendorous - Psalm 148:13 Using this week's BITE to help you pray better The law of God as a promise - Joshua 1:7-9 Daniel with a heart of gratitude in every circumstance - 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 How what God has done, and what He will do, and what He promises, and Who He is are so tightly woven together it's difficult to separate the strands Summarizing what we're learning into a prayer back to God Recognizing that it doesn't seem to bother Scripture to declare God as One who both hurls Jonah into the deep and brings his life up from the pit Being thankful for God as the Rock Eternal the Upright One Majestic and the Establisher of peace - Isaiah 26 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Higher Praise This Week's Challenge Try these BITEs (Bible Interaction Tool Exercises) for yourself! Take four colors and print out Scripture with wide margins. (On this episode we used Psalm 148, Daniel 6, Jonah 2, and Isaiah 26 to coincide with four previous podcast episodes.) Underline what God has done in one color, what He is going to do in another, what He has promised in another, and WHO He is in another. Then start making lists, or jotting down observations. Turn your discoveries into prayers of thanksgiving — acknowledging ALL that God is, what He has done, and what He is going to do.  


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    November 18, 2019 #298: "Rescue Story" by Zach Williams

    We are a people in need of rescuing. Praise God that He has already provided our Rescuer! Zach Williams sings of this in his song, "Rescue Story." It leads us to explore another rescue story in Scripture that whispers the name of Jesus. Join me as we head back to the book of Ruth for one more week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Repetition Listen to an audio version of the text Read/listen in various translations Storying Share with a friend Don't treat the stories of the Bible in chunks...read and keep on reading Storying...what it is and how to do it on your own How I chose the book of Ruth again because it is a story of redemption that is a type and shadow of the ultimate rescue story How every story whispers Jesus' name John 5:39-40 Luke 24:39-40 A recap of Ruth 1-4 How Naomi was rescued from her emptiness, Ruth was rescued from her barrenness, the people of Israel were ultimately rescued from their disobedience, and we are rescued from an eternity separated from God A discussion of what a kinsman redeemer is and where you find it baked into God's law Exodus 6:6 Leviticus 25:25-28 Christ as our redeemer - Galatians 3:13-14, Hebrews 9:15 Christ is our bridegroom and we are His bride - Ephesians 5 In Ruth we see ourselves when we see someone in need, unable to rescue ourselves, requiring a redeemer to cover us with His protection, requesting His redemption, and asking Him to make us his wife Additional Resources The story behind the song "Rescue Story" by Zach Williams - YouTube Video Chords and lyrics - Essential Worship What is a kinsman redeemer? - GotQuestions.org This Week's Challenge Explore the rescue story as told in the Book of Ruth. Read the entire account several times. Read it in different translations. Admire the beauty of this bright spot shining in a very dark age. Delight in the details of a charming story (that really happened to real people) and rehearse it often enough that you can then share it with a friend. Finally, consider how this story whispers the name of our own Redeemer, Jesus Christ.


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    November 11, 2019 #297: "Church (Take Me Back)" by Cochran and Co.

    You know the saying, "There's no going back?" Well, thank goodness that sentiment doesn't apply to returning to the people and the ways of God. Our song this week by Cochran and Co. is "Church (Take Me Back)" and inspired me to explore a story of returning in the Old Testament. Naomi returns to her homeland, her people, and the ways of God. Let's explore it together in the book of Ruth. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore the historical background Write in your Bible Read in context Read and keep on reading The theme of returning found in Ruth 1 Exploring where Naomi is returning FROM - Ruth 1:1-5 How the Moabites got their start - Genesis 19:30-38 How the leaders of Moab hired Balaam to curse Israel (entire context is Numbers 22-24) - Numbers 22:1-6 Moabites sent in the ladies to seduce the Israelite men into sexual immorality and ultimately idolatry by the people of Israel - Numbers 25:1-3, Numbers 31:16 Lasting consequences were placed by God on the Moabites - Deuteronomy 23:3-4 How King Eglon of Moab tormented the people for 18 years - Judges 3 The god of the Moabites, Chemosh, was worshipped through child sacrifice A quote by Christopher Ash from his book, "Teaching Ruth and Esther" - Amazon link Looking for the theme of "returning" in Ruth 1 - Ruth 1:6-22 How God is a restorer of life...a causer of us to return...to Him and His land of promise through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son the ultimate Redeemer of our souls Additional Resources The story behind the song "Church (Take Me Back)" by Cochran and Co. - YouTube Video Chords and lyrics - CochrenMusic.com This Week's Challenge Read the book of Ruth for yourself. Highlight or mark all instances of turning back or returning. Really meditate on this theme and consider what God may be saying to you through His Holy Word.


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    November 4, 2019 #296: "Always" by Kristian Stanfill

    What if I could train myself to stop focusing on my circumstances rather than the Lord? Kristian Stanfill's song "Always" reminds us of the greatness of our God as compared to the trouble that may surround us. David's Psalm 3 offers this same option. Let's explore it together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Writing in your Bible Annotating Making observations Making a list Consult and outside resource Listen/Read in a variety of translations Share with a friend! Following the cross references How the first verse of the song leads us to the first verse of Psalm 3 Copying and pasting the Psalm into a word processing document in order to print out and annotate Annotating - marking up a text to indicate places of importance or something you don't understand, thereby increasing deeper understanding Bracketing the Psalm Psalm 3:1-2 - Looking at circumstances Psalm 3:3-4 - Refocusing on God Psalm 3:5-6 - Resulting in rest and peace Psalm 3:7 - A request Psalm 3:8 - A declaration Following the cross reference to 2 Samuel 13-18 to read about David and Absalom - the inspiration for David to write this psalm in the first place   Additional Resources The story behind the song "Always" by Kristian Stanfill - New Release Today Article Lyrics - KLove Chords and lyrics - Worship Together This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 3 for yourself. Make your own observations and identify your own patterns in this song of lament. David offers us an example of sincere faith we can follow in the midst of troubling times. Let this Psalm change your prayers and remind you of the rest and peace offered by our Deliverer.


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    October 28, 2019 #295: God's Voice Is the Only Voice That Matters

    Tell me if you've done this before (because I have). You look at your Bible, but you pick up another book instead. If you're feeling super spiritual, you pick up a book that will help you understand the Bible better...but you still don't pick up your Bible. Or, you look at your Bible, but you start up a podcast instead. If you're feeling super spiritual, you choose a podcast that will talk to you about the Bible...but you still don't pick up your Bible. This week's podcast is fairly short for a reason. Tune in to find out why and what God has shown me. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Listening to an audio version of God's Word Read and keep on reading Testimony night - Revelation 12:10-11 Others are capable My word's aren't necessary God can use others in the same way He uses me It's not about me and my story God's words are the only words that matter   Additional Resources YouVersion Bible App Dwell Bible App This Week's Challenge Turn off the podcast and turn on an audio version of God’s Word. What Scripture references did your pastor use on Sunday? Grab that book of the Bible, start at the beginning, and press play. Get lost in the story of Scripture. Read and keep on reading (or perhaps, listen and keep on listening).


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    October 21, 2019 #294: "Dead Man Walking" by Jeremy Camp

    I'm inspired by the music that is inspired by the Word. This week's song by Jeremy Camp, "Dead Man Walking," is no exception. Where does Jeremy Camp get the idea that he was a dead man walking until he was a man walking with Christ? That is what we'll explore together. Scripture actually has a lot to say about this topic. Let's explore it together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore a topic Compare and Contrast Make a list Read in a variety of translations Dead men walking...walking around in the flesh, but spiritually dead - Ephesians 2:1-10 Exploring Ephesians 2 some more by review Episode 278 Spending a lifetime interacting with God's Word and always discovering something new Making a list of what we were like when we were dead in our trespasses and sins according to Ephesians 2:1-10 What we are when we are made alive together Christ by God according to Ephesians 2:1-10 Exploring another of Paul's letters that discusses being dead in our trespasses - Colossians 2:6-15 What it looks like when we are walking with Christ - Colossians 2:6-15 Looking closely at exactly WHO makes us alive {spoiler alert...it has NOTHING to do with you} Jesus' own explanation around new birth/regeneration - John 3:3-8 Additional verse references around our new birth John 1:9-13 1 Peter 1:3 Ezekiel 36:26-27 John 6:65 A reminder of what it's like before our new birth - 1 Corinthians 2:14     Additional Resources Lyrics The topic of Regeneration from Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem - MP3 The outline of the topic of Regeneration from Wayne Grudem's presentation - PDF This Week's Challenge Explore Ephesians and Colossians with an eye out for evidence that we were dead men walking before God stepped in and gave us new life. Really ponder this idea that it is GOD that makes us alive in Christ. Then lift your head, your hands, and your heart in worship to our merciful God Who rescued you from the ways of this world that you may walk in newness of life.


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    October 14, 2019 #293: “Whole Heart" by Brandon Heath

    Go all in. It looks good on a t-shirt. It looks good on a Christ-follower, too. Unfortunately, we are really good at half-way when it comes to our devotion to the Lord. I find myself going in spurts. I'm all in for awhile and then I get distracted. I'm gung-ho in one area, but not in another. Brandon Heath's song, "Whole Heart" reminds us to love God the way He wants us to...with our whole heart. There's a wonderful story found in 2 Chronicles about King Asa and all of Judah going "all in."  Will you join me in exploring it this week? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Slow down (digest smaller chunks) Explore a topic Read in context (don't read part of the story...especially this week) The heart as inner man - a place where affections, will, and inclinations reside How God asks for our wholehearted love and devotion - Matthew 22:37 The combination life -- half-in and half-out God as our example of wholeheartedness - Jeremiah 32:37-41 A quote from Andrew Murray - The Two Covenants King Asa's story in 2 Chronicles 14-16 and 1 Kings 15 The peace King Asa and all of Judah enjoyed because of their wholehearted devotion to God King Asa and the people entering into a covenant to seek the LORD with all their heart and with all their soul The comparison and contrast of when King Asa relied on God and when he relied on other men How we get a new heart that can maintain wholehearted devotion. God will give it to us!   Additional Resources Link to get Brandon's Whole Heart Devotional Series emailed to you! - Brandon Heath's Website Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read all about King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14-16. Read the entire story and compare and contrast the wholeheartedness and divided hearts of the king and his people and consider the results of each. Seek the Lord with your whole heart and thank Him for the good that He freely pours out with His whole heart.


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    October 7, 2019 #292: "Fear No More" by Building 429

    What kinds of choices do you make in the face of fear? Building 429's song "Fear No More" is an anthem born out of a personal time when fear led the songwriters to seek God. There's a king in Scripture that was faced with fear more than once. His story gives us two separate examples of choices and two distinct responses from God.           Let's explore the life and choices of King Asa this week.     On this episode I discuss:     Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Pray Read in context Using section titles to get your bearings Remember that the people described in the Bible were REAL Meditating on Scripture Praying for God to give the desire to read Scripture. Praying for God to help you understand what you're reading. Praying for God to reveal truth to you as you read. Reading the end of King Asa's story in 2 Chronicles 16 Seeing that "the end justified the means" in the mind of King Asa - 2 Chronicles 16:1-6 God's rebuke of King Asa's choice in the face of fear - 2 Chronicles 16:7-9 Giving yourself a chance to get familiar enough with Scripture that it begins to "all fall into place" Meditating on the details of the story Considering Asa's response - 2 Chronicles 16:10-14 How Asa started off right, but ended badly Examining our choices when we feel powerless Examining God's response to Asa the first time he felt powerless and overwhelmed by his circumstances - 2 Chronicles 15:1-8       Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove Story Behind The Song "Fear No More" - YouTube Video Story Behind the Song "Fear No More" - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge I know I started in 2 Chronicles 16 this week, but I want you to read chapters 14-16 for yourself. There's so much more there that we didn't cover. I didn't start "at the beginning" because I wanted to show you how easy it is to jump in the middle and not get the big picture when you don't engage in the whole. It's not a waste, but it's so much richer (and more effective) to do the study work. And don't forget to PRAY. God wants to meet you in His Word!


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    September 30, 2019 #291: "God's Not Done With You" by Tauren Wells

    It's easy to believe that a traumatic event can be the end of your story. It often feels very much like the end. Tauren Wells' song, "God's Not Done With You," reminds us that God is not done writing your story. There are examples of this all over Scripture. Join me as we sit in a section of Scripture this week that is hard, yet hopeful. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Repetition Read in different translations Listen to epic music while reading Follow the cross references The abundance of wounds, scars, brokenness, hard things, and things that had absolutely fallen apart in the lyrics of our song AND in Lamentations How God is not absent in the midst of despair How Lamentations is a set of five acrostic poems of lament The literary devices found in Scripture -- specifically in Lamentations 1:1 The hard things to read in Israel's story vividly described in Lamentations - Lamentations 2:20-22 Following the cross-reference to 2 Kings 25:1-7 The comparison between the massacre in Jerusalem to the Holocaust or the Nanjing Massacre A traumatic story of my own - Lamentations 1:20 How, in our trauma, we might be as innocent as the children described in Lamentations or as guilty as the adults who rebelled against God Recognizing the warnings of God - Lamentations 2:17, Deuteronomy 28:15 Acknowledging responsibility - Lamentations 3:37-39 Examining our ways and turning back (repentance) - Lamentations 3:40-42 Hitting rock bottom and crying out - Lamentations 3:54-58 Understanding that naming, facing, and turning from our sin IS our salvation from false hope - Lamentations 2:14 Genuine hope is found in our Redeemer - Lamentations 2:20-26   Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove God's Not Done With You 10-Day Devotion Series - Bible.com This Week's Challenge Have I inspired you at all to take a crack at Lamentations? I hope so. There is great pain and sorrow to be found there, but there is great repentance and hope as well. I’ve only scratched the surface. I pray you allow God to meet you in your sorrow but, as in Lamentations, that you are honest in your sorrow. Read all five chapters and really give yourself a chance to process slowly -- chase down a few cross references for perspective while you’re at it.


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    September 23, 2019 #290: "Reason" by Unspoken

    Are you on the verge of giving up on God? You read all about how He redeems and restores, but you haven't seen it come to pass yet. Unspoken's song "Reason" reminds us that God's love underpins everything and is enough to keep us believing. I can't wait to introduce you to Sarah (the gal formerly known as Sarai). She had reason to stop believing. Let's dive into her story this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Remember the characters in the Bible were REAL Explore a topic Follow the cross references Read and keep on reading How the people described in the Bible were real They laugh when they're not supposed to They lie to avoid conflict They trust and obey They doubt and take things into their own hands Starting at the beginning of Sarai's story and reading to the "end" - Genesis 11-23 How whatever happened to Abram was happening to Sarai The whispers of God's promise over and over again to Abram and Sarai without the results coming as they expected The story within the stories told in Scripture - considering what it would have been like for Sarai in Pharoah's harem in Egypt Sarah's continued example to us as a "holy woman of the past" - 1 Peter 3:1-6 A life story that includes war and heartache and a big family business Moving from "she strives" to "kings of peoples shall be of her"     Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove Behind the song "Reason" by Unspoken - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Dive into Genesis 11 through 23. Read with Sarah on your mind. Take notes -- begin to understand who she was as a woman, who she was as a wife, who she was as a mother, and who she was as a woman of God. Get creative and write a historical-fiction account of something that happened to her in this text. But most of all, remember that Sarah was real. She was a part of God's overarching plan to rescue all of us from sin and death -- but she was a real woman with real feelings, real fears, and was a real example that nothing is impossible with God.


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    September 16, 2019 #289: "Burn the Ships" by For King & Country

    Don't look back. Eliminate any possibility of retreat. That's the message of For King and Country's song, "Burn the Ships," and that is the message of Paul to the Philippians. The new life set out before you and the priceless prize at the end of this race will be SO worth the risk of reducing your past to ashes. Let's explore what Paul has to say to the Philippians together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Listen to an audio version of Scripture Repetition Listen to various translations Consider the historical context Refer to an outside resource Follow the cross references Slow down Where the phrase "Burn the Ships" comes from - biography.com The story behind the song - YouTube Video The brazen decision eliminating any possibility of retreat - Philippians 3:13-14 Reading Philippians in context in preparation for more detailed study The command and warning found in chapter 3 - Philippians 3:1-4 The big summary idea -- we are to put NO confidence in the flesh -- which is the OPPOSITE of the prevalent message of the world today Paul's list of "gain" - Philippians 3:4-6 Slowing down and processing through Philippians 3:8-11 Leading a "forgetting", "pressing", and "straining" kind of life - Philippians 3:12-14     Additional Resources Lyrics - For King & Country Website Behind the song "Burn the Ships" by For King & Country - The Joy FM YouTube Video Take It or Die by Andy Andrews - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Paul's letter to the Philippians. Listen to it a few more times in various translations. Then sit down, slow down, and really process what you're reading. Maybe grab a friend and try to explain it to them. Ponder what you would put on your "gain" list. Ponder what you would put on your "everything else" list. Consider what you're grasping tightly to (on either list) that you could let go so your hands are free to strain toward what is ahead.


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    September 9, 2019 #288: "Nobody" by Casting Crowns feat. Matthew West

    Every somebody started out as a nobody. Inspired by Casting Crowns' song, "Nobody," I consider the early days of Samuel's life. Even though Samuel was the son of a barren woman who was dedicated to the Lord for a life of service, he still had to GROW from somewhere. Join me as we zero in on Samuel's beginning to see what we can learn from this "nobody" who eventually had two books of the God's Holy Word bear his name. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Study a topic Consider the opposite Consult an outside resource Share with a friend Reading Samuel's story with an eye toward the details of his life...everyone comes from somewhere - 1 Samuel 1-3 Considering the opposite of a nobody Coming to the conclusion that it's out of a life of obedience that Samuel actualizes a life of significance Understanding where Samuel comes from by learning more about his birth and dedication (and ultimately his mother's commitment to God) The idea that Hannah probably passed on her devotion to God to her young son The first time God reveals Himself to Samuel in a personal way - 1 Samuel 3:1-10 The context of Samuel's "world" at that time in history Examining some reasons as to why Samuel and Eli did not immediately recognize the voice of God Recognizing that we are NOT like the Israelites. The Word of the Lord is NOT rare in our time...it is revealed! All we have to do is read it!     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Praise Charts Behind the song "Nobody" by Casting Crowns - FreeCCM This Week's Challenge Read 1 Samuel 1-3. Spend some time really taking in the context of the world around Samuel's existence. Grab a friend and discuss the details together. Once you've read and re-read the text a few times, it's okay to peek down at your study Bible notes, or seek out a trusted commentary. And the next time you hear God speaking to you, be sure to obey. It may just be like it was for Samuel...more about your obedience and less about the message.


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    September 2, 2019 #287: "Rescuer (Good News) by Rend Collective

    Have you ever struggled to see the big picture of the Bible? How do the individual stories, songs, poems, prophecies, and more, fit together -- and what are we to make of it? Rend Collective's song, "Rescuer (Good News)," reminds me of God's grand rescue plan. Join me for a quick fly over that may help you make connections with God's grand story in the future. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Use outside resources (like the amazing Jesus Storybook Bible) Meta-narrative - the overarching story that gives context, meaning, and purpose to all of life "The Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing. It's about God and what He has done." - The Jesus Storybook Bible How Genesis 1-3 could be the beginning and the end, but God whispers a promise to rescue Genesis 6-9 and Noah's experience with God placing his war bow in the sky pointing to heaven A reminder of how we try to reach up to heaven like in the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 The tagline of The Jesus Storybook Bible - Every story whispers His name God's creation of his own family through Abraham and Sarah (we get to join in later!) An example of trusting the Father in Genesis 22 with an eye on the Son who would climb a mountain like Isaac to be sacrificed Hopping and skipping through the rest of the Old Testament and New Testament revealing the grand story of God Ending with Revelation where it's not the end...it's the beginning of our forever life after being rescued     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge While I don’t have a specific place to go in Scripture this week, wherever you choose to go, take a step back and seek how it relates and connects to the meta-narrative…the grand story of God’s Word. And don’t forget...this Word of God is not about you at all…it’s about Him and His rescue plan for all who will believe in Him.


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    August 26, 2019 #286: “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle

    We are in dire straights. We're going down in a heap of confusion and our SOS call has been heard by a loving Father who sent His only Son to rescue us. Lauren Daigle's song "Rescue" reminds us that we are not beyond God's reach to deliver us from sin. Paul has his own SOS call recorded in his letter to the Romans. Let's head over there together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Slow down Utilize outside resources Compare and contrast Listen to an audio version of Scripture The Jesus Storybook Bible and how it reminds us that the Bible is "The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them." Paul's SOS call in Romans 7:15-24 Recognizing that Romans can be a little hard to put your mind around at times Utilizing outside resources (AFTER you study the text for yourself) Your pastor or small group leader Study Bible Commentaries that you trust (usually recommended by your trusted pastor or spiritual mentor) Nancy Guthrie's book, "Even Better Than Eden" - Amazon link How sin came into the world through one man - Romans 5:12, Genesis 2:15-17 How righteousness came into the world through one man - Romans 5:19 A variety of areas to study in Romans 6 and 7 The symbolism of baptism Slavery to sin and lawlessness vs. slavery to righteousness The metaphor of marriage when discussing being released from the law The ongoing discussion about the law and what it does and does not do Baptism as an outward physical symbol of the inward spiritual conversion of Christians Being united with Christ through death to sin Being united with Christ in resurrection - walking in newness of life Then tension between being rescued from sin and still needing to walk in newness of life     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Praise Charts This Week's Challenge Read Romans in context. Read the entire letter in one sitting if you can. Zero in on Romans 6 and 7 as it builds to Paul's SOS call for rescue. Consider the symbolism of baptism. Ponder the spiritual truth it reveals, but also consider ways in which you are not walking in newness of life. Allow your Rescuer to rescue you...allow Him to lead you by His Spirit.


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    August 19, 2019 #285: "King Of My Heart" by John Mark and Sarah McMillan

    I want the truth about God to be the soundtrack of my life. What we listen to matters and it changes the way we think. That's why I am drawn to John Mark and Sarah McMillan's song, "King Of My Heart." It calls out the characteristics of our unfathomable God, allowing me to meditate on HIM instead of ME. We will use some of the lyrics to take us on a journey through Scripture to confirm that the King of our heart is indeed GOOD. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Start with God Explore a topic Make a list Meditate on God's Word Word study Putting on a garment of praise as we studied in Episode 282 My "Garment of Praise" Spotify playlist - Spotify Using our song to explore four descriptions of God in Scripture mountain where I run - Psalm 31 fountain I drink from - Jeremiah 2 shadow where I hide - Psalm 91 ransom for my life - Matthew 20 and my song - Exodus 15 Starting with God by making a list of His characteristics discovered in Psalm 31:1-5 Focusing our attention upon God rather than our troubles (or the failures of others) Considering the shadow of the Almighty in Psalm 91:1-2 (see Episode 216) Completing a word study on the word RANSOM (see Matthew 20:28) - BibleHub.com How the Lord Himself is our song - Exodus 15:2 That when we seek others to complete us, we make the opinions, approval, and acceptance of men an idol When we make the opinions, approval, and acceptance of others an idol, we replace the King of our Heart (the source of living water) with a broken cistern (designed only to hold water...not to be a source)     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together This Week's Challenge I've given you several places to go this week. You could do a survey approach like we did on the podcast and consider the areas of Scripture where we see God as our refuge, our shadow, our ransom, our song, and our fountain. Or you could get so inspired in Psalm 31, Psalm 91, Matthew 10, Exodus 15, or Jeremiah 2, that you sit and explore in one of those sections of Scripture. In choosing either option, I don't think you'll ever sing this song the same again.


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    August 12, 2019 #284: "Yes I Will" by Vertical Worship

    Life's full of choices, isn't it? The funny thing is, even when we don't intentionally choose a response, we have still made a choice. Vertical Worship's song, "Yes I Will," reminds us that we can choose to bless the Lord at all times. King David made that choice, and this week we explore one of the songs he wrote to remind himself of God's faithfulness. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Consider the opposite Make a list Share with a friend Putting on a garment of praise as we studied last week in Episode 282 My "Garment of Praise" Spotify playlist - Spotify Vertical Worship's teaching moment using this week's song - YouTube Video Avoiding the one-and-done mentality by reading Psalm 34 repetitively Evaluating our choices What is the choice? What are the options? What are the consequences of choosing the different options? How will my choice affect other people? Evaluating our choice to "bless the Lord at all times" - Psalm 34:1 Breaking apart the results of your choices (once the dust has settled) How the ultimate level of maturity come when you make predetermined choices Examining Psalm 34 section by section     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship A Teaching Moment behind "Yes I Will" by Vertical Worship - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Take up residence in Psalm 34 this week. Ponder what you've learned about choices while learning much about the character of God in this psalm. Make lists and consider the repetitive phrases/ideas in this psalm (there are more than we discussed on the podcast). Talk to someone about what you've been studying (that's another BITE by the way). Finally, let it sink in that you're choosing...whether you're choosing to bless the Lord at all times, sometimes, or not at all...you're choosing. Will you choose to bless the Lord this week? Will you place HIS praise on your lips today?


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    August 5, 2019 #283: “Spirit Lead Me” by Michael Ketterer

    One of my favorite ways to understand Scripture is to consider the opposite. Whatever it IS becomes clearer for me when I think about what it's NOT. Michael Ketterer does that for us in the song, "Spirit Lead Me," when he reminds us that chasing feelings is the opposite of being led by the Spirit. I want to be led by the Spirit, but I've learned in my studies that first I must "inquire of the Lord." On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read and keep on reading Listen to an audio version of Scripture Read/study to epic music playlist Putting on a garment of praise as we studied last week in Episode 282 Not letting the music you listen to inform what you believe, rather letting what you believe inform the music you'll consume Rapid Bible Read Through - you can learn more about it over on my friend Keith Ferrin's blog How Saul did NOT inquire of the Lord and what happened - 1 Chronicles 10:13 Taking on 1st and 2nd Samuel by reading for larger chunks of time David inquiring of the Lord - 1 Samuel 23:1-5, 1 Samuel 23:10-13, 1 Samuel 30:8, 2 Samuel 2:1-4, 2 Samuel 5:17-25 and more How and why WE are led by the Spirit - Romans 8:5-14     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Influence Music The story behind "Spirit Lead Me" by Michael Ketterer - YouTube Video "Spirit Lead Me" Devo with Michael Ketterer - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Tackle the narrative told in 1st and 2nd Samuel this week. Read and keep on reading. Take as long as you need, but read in larger chunks of time. Don't get bogged down in the details, keep an eye on the big picture. Take note of when people "inquire of the Lord" and when they do not. What are the results and consequences? Make it a prayer of yours to be led by the Spirit and not by your flesh. And if you are hostile to the things of God, by all means surrender. He will fill you with Himself and you will be free.


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    July 29, 2019 #282: “Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” by Michael W. Smith

    Sometimes you’re in a battle, and sometimes you just feel like a weight is bearing down on you, immobilizing you. The King James Version of the Bible calls this a “spirit of heaviness.” The English Standard Version calls it a “faint spirit.” No matter the description that fits you best, our Savior has given us a great exchange. Michael W. Smith sings about it in his song, “Surrounded (Fight My Battles).” Explore Isaiah 61 with me as put on the garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness. Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Meditate Pray Scripture Write out Scripture Speak Scripture aloud Journal Follow the cross-references Make a list Michael W. Smith’s reference to Isaiah 61 in the opening of his song The terrible exchange of a spring of living water for a broken cistern in Jeremiah 2 The glorious exchanges listed in Isaiah 61:1-3 The proven battle plan of leading out in praise - 2 Chronicles 20 Putting on the garment of praise through singing, speaking, journaling, praying and remembering Following the cross reference in Isaiah 61 to Luke 4:16-21 Considering the giver of the garment of praise in Isaiah 61:3 The expected result of this great exchange - Isaiah 61:3 Considering being rooted in Colossians 2 and planted in Psalm 1 How God’s greatest glory IS my greatest good Making a list of who “they” are that these gift are for Making a list of the expected accomplishments of the transformed “they” Another great exchange in Isaiah 61:7 Our praise response in Isaiah 61:10-11     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Upperroom The story behind the song “Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” by Michael W. Smith - New Release Today article This Week's Challenge Perhaps you are suffering from a faint spirit. Remember that Christ was anointed to bring you the good news and a gift...a garment of praise in exchange for your faint spirit. Read Isaiah 61 this week and explore all of the details it offers us while using the Episode 282 to give you the tools to do so. Put on the garment of praise this week. Ponder through singing, write out Scripture, speak out Scripture, incorporate Scripture into your prayers, and call out to God all that He has done for you.  


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    July 22, 2019 #281: “I’m Gonna Let It Go” by Jason Gray

    When we were new parents we logged every aspect of our new baby's life. Some family members mocked us, but for my husband and me it gave us a feeling of control -- as if by writing it down we could influence the outcome. In his song, "I'm Gonna Let It Go," Jason Gray sings of our desire to "control" things while God is patiently waiting for us to surrender to Him. Through a quick look at the interchange between a prophet and a king, we can make some pretty profound conclusions. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Remember that the people described in the Bible were REAL Explore a topic Consider the historical context Utilize section headings If I don’t surrender to God’s way, I’ll surrender to the consequences of not surrendering to God’s way What leads to holding on to our own way over God's way Historical context of the conversation between Jeremiah and Zedekiah in Jeremiah 38 Getting big-picture perspective by exploring the timeline in 2 Chronicles 36 Our choice is not merely to obey or not obey, but ultimately we choose the consequence Examining our "it shall be well with you" options vs. our "death and terror for those you love" options The necessity of listening to Godly counsel Pushing the situation until "there is no remedy"   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Praise Charts The story behind "I'm Gonna Let It Go" by Jason Gray - CCM Magazine This Week's Challenge Read Jeremiah 36-39. As you are reading, remember that the men described here really lived. They had real personalities and tendencies. They had real choices and they suffered real consequences. To understand at least a limited timeline and historical context of King Zedekiah, read 2 Chronicles 36. Finally, remember if we don’t surrender to God’s way, we’ll be forced to surrender to the consequences of not surrendering to God’s way.


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    July 15, 2019 From Hurricane Barry With Love

    no episode this week due to complications caused by Hurricane Barry! see you next week!


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    July 8, 2019 #280: "Greatness of Our God" by Newsboys United

    It's time. It's time to get a little excited about how great God really is. Strike up the band (or at least Newsboys United's song "Greatness of Our God") and turn to Psalm 150, because it's time to acknowledge the greatness of our God. Do you keep a record of the mighty works of God? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Make observations (and write them down) Slow down Follow the cross references Relishing songs that point us to God first (rather than self) Searching for "greatness" in Scripture using online tools - BibleHub.com Reading all of Psalm 150 and making observations Recognizing the categories detailed in Psalm 150 WHERE to praise God WHAT to praise Him FOR WHAT to praise Him WITH WHO should praise God Psalm 150 in The Voice translation - BibleGateway.com A reminder of the wonderful study in Psalm 148 on Episode 244 - the perfect partner to this episode       Additional Resources Lyrics The story behind "The Greatness of Our God" by Newsboys United - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Spend some time in Psalm 150 this week. You may be tempted to read it once and move on, but I really want you to spend some time there. Write out your own list of mighty works of God. Focus on the greatness of our God. Consider the who, what, and where of praising God we find in this psalm. And by all means, spend some time praising the Lord this week.


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    July 1, 2019 #279: "Do Something" by Matthew West

    Helen Keller once said, "I am only one, but still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."  This quote has been next to my computer for over 15 years.  I am reminded of it and of what James has to say about our faith being evident through our actions every time I hear Matthew West's song, "Do Something." I want a faith that is vibrant and alive.  Don't you?  We'll discuss this and more on this week's episode. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Study in various translations Complete a word study Our memory verse in context - James 2:14-20 Definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1 How we are saved through faith by grace so that we can DO SOMETHING - Ephesians 2:8-10 The story behind the song as told by Matthew West A word study on the word for "action" found in our memory verse Ideas on where we can start to "do something"       Additional Resources Download "Do Something" from iTunes Lyrics James 2:17 in the Amplified Bible Story behind the song found in New Release Tuesday Ezekiel 18:5-9 James 1:26-27 CASA Hope for Opelousas Compassion International A21 Campaign This Week's Challenge Read James 2 in context. To me that means read the chapter before through to the chapter after your focus chapter. And if you're going to do that...just read the whole book of James! Use BibleHub.com to click on the interlinear of James 2:17. Click on the Greek word for "action" and complete a word study for yourself. Ask God to make these truths come alive for you.


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    June 24, 2019 #278: "Alive" by Big Daddy Weave

    Have you ever read about people who have been given a new lease on life? Perhaps it was a medical breakthrough or second chance, but their lives changed completely. These examples pale in comparison to what happens when we are made alive with Christ. Big Daddy Weave sings about it in their new song, "Alive." Paul writes about it in his letter to the Ephesians. Let's explore it together! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Read in context Listen to an audio version of Scripture Refer to an introduction/historical context Write Scripture in your own words How our lyrics were inspired by Ephesians 2:1-10 Being able to put something in your own words shows a higher level of comprehension Listing out some of the desires of the body and the mind that you carried out before you became a follower of Christ Considering who we follow -- because it's either Christ or the prince of the power of the air Our nature - Ephesians 2:3 What we must do for the free gift of salvation - Ephesians 2:8-9 Heather Holleman’s book "SEATED: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison" - Amazon Link We are no longer dead. We are alive. We belong. We have a seat. Now we are free to carry out the things God has prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10     Additional Resources Chords and lyrics - "Alive" by Big Daddy Weave - Praise Charts This Week's Challenge Read or listen to Ephesians…the whole letter. Then focus your study time on Ephesians 2:1-10. Try to write it out in your own words. Consider what it means to follow Christ versus following the course of this world. Ponder what it looks like to be seated with Christ instead of fighting for a seat.


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    June 17, 2019 #277: "Look Up Child" by Lauren Daigle

    This week's episode is in tribute to my mentor's daughter. In life and in death she inspired others to lift their faces to the One Who could save them. That's why Lauren Daigle's song "Look Up Child" inspires us to explore Scripture today. Let's dive in to some key Scriptures where God's people are called to look up and live. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Listen to an audio version of Scripture Share with a friend Make a list Follow the cross-references Not getting discouraged when you encounter Scripture after Scripture you've never read before...don't be discouraged, be inspired! My mom's story of God's inspiration and provision - Joshua 1:8 Doing God's work and building up the church - Ephesians 4:11-12 Looking up to the Son of Man lifted up like the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness - John 3:9-12 Following the cross-reference to Numbers 21 to see the story of the bronze serpent on a pole - Numbers 21:4-9 Remembering the warning of idolizing God's provision and worshiping it rather than God - 2 Kings 18:3-4       Additional Resources Story behind the album "Look Up Child" by Lauren Daigle - YouTube Video Chords and lyrics - "Look Up Child" by Lauren Daigle - PsalmNote.com This Week's Challenge Use this episode as a catalyst to spend more thoughtful time in the Scriptures we briefly highlighted today. Study John 3 and Numbers 21, and don’t miss the danger zone we uncovered in 2 Kings 18. Let these references to “looking up” lead us to place our faith in Christ unto salvation, and continue to place our faith in His saving power for every situation we face until we meet Him face-to-face in eternity.


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    June 10, 2019 #276: “You Got This" by Love and the Outcome

    There's an impossible situation. You know the one. You lay it at the feet of Jesus only to pick it right back up again. Why do we do that? Perhaps we lack the faith to recognize God's "got this." Love and Outcome gives an encouraging message to remind us that God has it all in hand. God proves Himself over and over again in Scripture. Let's peek into a couple of true accounts. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Context Consider the opposite Considering the opposite of God's sovereignty The context of Saul's persecution of the early church - Acts 8:1-3, Philippians 3:4-6, Galatians 1:13-14 The road to Damascus did not go Saul's way because it wasn't supposed to - Acts 9:1-31 What seemed like an impossible barrier to the cause of Christ ended up being the catalyst to spreading the gospel around the world Peter's story of discovering the path he was on was not the path of God - Acts 10 Criticism of Peter and his experience recapped - Acts 11:1-18       Additional Resources Lyrics for "You Got This" by Love and the Outcome - AZ Lyrics This Week's Challenge I skimmed over quite a bit of the text today — catch up by reading Acts 6-11. As you read, keep God’s sovereignty in the forefront of your mind. How would these accounts look different if the main characters were sovereign over the outcomes? What were some of the "grand-scheme-of-things” outcomes in reality? Where in your life are you questioning God’s sovereignty? How can these accounts lead you to trust and submit to His will and His ways.


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    June 3, 2019 #275: "Resurrecting" by Elevation Worship

    God specializes in bringing dead things back to life. From the first pages of Genesis when man walked into death through mistrust and disobedience God mapped out the plan to defeat death forever. Elevation Worship's song "Resurrecting" celebrates the resurrecting power of our resurrected Savior. Let's explore what Scripture has to say about what it looks like to come back from the dead. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Context Ask Questions Make Observations Study with a Friend Repetition Reading your Bible is non-negotiable. There. You've been told. You can do this. BITEs can help. There will always be those we can learn from, but starting with the base of what Scripture says is our job first Making some observations in Colossians 2:13 Zooming out to read the context of Colossians 2 Two metaphors -- buried with Christ and spiritual circumcision - Colossians 2:11 and Colossians 2:12 The now and the not yet - the spiritual life (our real life) and the physical life and when those will sync up     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords for "Resurrecting" by Elevation Worship - Essential Worship Mark's Story - "Resurrecting" by Elevation Worship - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read all of Paul’s letter to the Colossians (it’s only 4 chapters). Make some observations, read it with a friend, compile a couple of lists. Take note of life and death…it’s interwoven throughout this letter. Then every time you listen to this week’s song you can be reminded of your time in God’s Word.


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    May 27, 2019 #274: "Find You Here" by Ellie Holcomb

    Challenges in our lives will never stop coming. Like waves that ebb and flow in strength and number, our trials and suffering come in and go out, but they never stop coming. The solution is to fix our eyes on God and the hope revealed in His Word. Ellie Holcomb's song "Find You Here" reminds us that He is in the midst of each ordeal...even the darkest ones. Peter knew he needed to prepare believers for fiery trials, too. Let's let our song lead us there this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Explore a topic Follow the cross references The problem with contemporary western thought in regard to suffering "Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering" by Timothy Keller Episode 171 and my reference to Jen Wilkin's book "None Like Him" Ellie Holcomb's blog post about the story behind the song - www.ellieholcomb.com The pattern in 1 Peter - We suffered. Christ suffered. We suffered. Christ suffered - Hebrews 4:15 Jesus made perfect through suffering - Hebrews 2:10 God is pleased with us when we endure suffering patiently - 1 Peter 2:20 The example Christ leaves for suffering - 1 Peter 2:22-25 The cross reference to Isaiah 53:2-12     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords for "Find You Here" by Ellie Holcomb - Ultimate Guitar Story behind the song "Find You Here" by Ellie Holcomb - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Read 1 Peter all the way through. It may benefit you to read it through several times in several translations. Once you have a good grasp of the letter as a whole, focus in on what the letter says specifically about suffering. You may find it easiest to go through and make a list of every reference to suffering, trials, etc. If you want to follow the example of this podcast, study the example of Christ Peter gives in chapter 2. Follow the cross-reference to Isaiah 53 it will really give you perspective. Do all of this with the corrected worldview that suffering is not to be avoided at all cost (and I think we know that practically it can’t be), but that we can endure it humbly (because we are not all knowing) and with confidence (because God has promised restoration, support and strength).


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    May 20, 2019 #273: "Well Done" by The Afters

    We live in a world where we want the results, but are often unwilling to put in the work. I agree with The Afters when they sing about wanting to hear the words "well done" in the end. Jesus makes it clear in his parables the characteristics of those inheriting the kingdom of God. Let's make some discoveries and ACT on what we find. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Compare and contrast Read in context Make observations My guest appearance on Reverentia's podcast RE - iTunes Episode Link Thinking Scripturally about the phrase, "Well done my good and faithful servant." The parable where the phrase "well done" is found - Matthew 25:14-30 Reading the Parable of the Talents in context - Matthew 24 and Matthew 25 Discussing what is worth more than a talent of gold - Psalm 19:7-11 Comparing and contrasting the servants in the Parable of the Talents - Matthew 25:14-30 Comparing and contrasting in the other parables and examples in Matthew 25 Considering what God is concerned about that will lead to his approval in the end       Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - Praise Charts Story Behind the Song "Well Done" by The Afters - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read the Parable of the Talents in context by reading Matthew 24 and 25. Make observations and compare and contrast because that is what Jesus is doing throughout this teaching. Make note of which "character" in each parable or story you want to be. Discern what actions or beliefs are displayed and what those behaviors lead to. Acknowledge the consequences of the "other" choice in each parable. And then don't just wait to hear "well done" -- act!  


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    May 13, 2019 #272: "Scars" by I Am They

    It's the hardest experiences that often shape us the most. While they may be excruciating in the moment, when we persevere, these trials lead to greater character and hope. "Scars" by I Am They sings of this very phenomenon. May we be strengthened by our scars, not broken by them. There is a man deeply scarred that you may have missed in the Old Testament. Let's read about him together! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Read the section headings to get your bearings Compare and contrast Read in context Listen to an audio version of the Bible Remember that the people described in the Bible were REAL Follow cross references How even (or especially) the painful parts of our lives often shape who we are today When you're challenged in Scripture don't let it get you down, let it remind you that there is always more (and there is life and exciting revelation in the more) Consulting a chart of kings in your study Bible or elsewhere to get your bearings (here's a good one I found online) A quick overview of how we got to the divided kingdom Considering the life of Hezekiah like a good Cajun girl asking the question, "Who is your mom and dad?" (yes, I know bad grammar, but a good Cajun question all the same) Comparing and contrasting Hezekiah with his father, Ahaz - 2 Kings 18:1-4, 2 Kings 16:1-4 Describing what it means for parents to pass their children through the fire - John Kitto Reading Hezekiah's story remembering that he was a REAL man with deep wounds and scars How God uses our scars to benefit others - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7   Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - Essential Worship Story Behind the Song "Scars" by I Am They - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Hezekiah's story in context -- start in chapter 16 of 2 Kings and read all the way through chapter 20. If you really get into the story, you could use the BITE of following the cross references (there's a prophet in this story who has his very own book!). As you consider Hezekiah's scars and how it may have shaped him, bring your own scars before the Father. Ask God how He wants to use your scars to make a difference in the generation He has placed YOU in.  


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    May 6, 2019 #271: "Build My Life" by Pat Barrett

    We're building a life. With every choice we make, every word we say, every thought, and every act we are building a life. That leads to the question, "What foundation are we building our lives on?" Pat Barrett's song "Build My Life" is a declaration of building a life on a firm foundation. That foundation is revealed in Scripture. Join me as we see what Jesus has to say about our building practices in Matthew 7. Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Context Observations Compare and contrast Mark in your Bible The story behind the song "Build My Life" by Pat Barrett - YouTube Video Our focus area of Scripture inspired by the bridge of our song - Matthew 7:24-27 Reading and studying the entire Sermon on the Mount in context - Matthew 5-7 Jesus' teaching methods -


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    April 29, 2019 #270: "God Only Knows" by For King & Country

    Trauma and tragedy can leave us feeling lonely and unseen. For King & Country's song "God Only Knows" reminds us that God holds a deep love and understanding of you and your circumstances (past or present). Many of the psalms of David poetically reflect our own heart's cry. Let's take a deep look at one of those psalms this week. Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Context Repetition Write in your Bible Consider the opposite Make a list The line in the song that led me to the verse that led me to our focus Psalm this week - Psalm 25:16 How Psalm 25 is an acrostic psalm, meaning each verse starts with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet (which is why is may read more disjointed than other psalms) Using the BITE of repetition to let the psalm really sink in My desire to seek God's face before I seek His hand An article by Mortimer Adler on" How to Mark a Book" - Online Article Directing our attention to God first by marking every reference to God (by name or pronoun) with a triangle (or symbol or color of choice) Considering the opposite of steadfast - Psalm 25:7 How God's way is not consistent with our way -Psalm 25:8, Isaiah 55:8-9 Marking the verbs in this psalm Making a list/column of "God's verbs" vs. "My verbs" Recognizing that God takes on everything and our role is very limited      Additional Resources Lyrics - KLove.com Story behind the song "God Only Knows" by For King & Country - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 25 repeatedly this week. Then take the time to INTERACT with Psalm 25. Mark all of the references to God. Then make notes in a notebook or in the margins of what you learn about God through the words of this Psalm. Next, mark all of the verbs. Make a list of the “God verbs” in one column and a list of the “Me verbs” in another. Observe through this exercise all that God takes on Himself while our role is merely to trust, wait, fear, abide, take refuge, and keep His covenant.


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    April 22, 2019 #269: "Just Want You" by Sarah Reeves

    There's a level of devotion that I see in a young Moabite woman in the Old Testament that I want to emulate. Sarah Reeves' song "Just Want You" led me to the book of Ruth this week where I was moved by the characteristics of allegiance that I long to see in my own life toward my Savior. You can't emulate what you don't understand, so let's dive in together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Read and keep on reading Consult a map Follow Cross References How God's providence plays the long game -- just consider the placement of Ruth in the genealogy of David - Ruth 4:18-22 God's providence in the history of the United States on a tour through the Jenney Museum How our song lyrics remind me of the devotion of Ruth toward her mother-in-law - Ruth 1:16-18 Asking myself Do I have that kind of devotion to my Savior? Am I willing to go wherever Jesus goes? Am I willing to call God's people my people? Exploring the region of Moab through a map and encyclopedia entry - BibleHub.com Following the cross-references to the foundation of Moab - Genesis 19 Discovering references to Moab in Judges since that is the era in which the story is placed - Judges 3:12-14 is an example Pausing again to consider the characteristics of Ruth - Ruth 2:11-12 Considering the providence of God -- does anyone think it was a coincidence that Ruth ended up in Boaz' field? - Ruth 2:1-3 How Boaz as the kinsman-redeemer is a foreshadowing of Christ as our ultimate kinsman-redeemer - GotQuestions.org     Additional Resources Lyrics and music - Praise Charts Story behind the album where "Just Want You" is featured - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read the book of Ruth in it's entirety -- read and keep on reading. Consult a map of the area to understand where Moab is in relation to Bethlehem. Follow the cross references to Genesis 19 to discover where Moab came from. Research where Moab is described in the book of Judges as this is the time when this story took place. Finally, as you use our song to worship consider the devotion Ruth showed to her mother-in-law and ask yourself, "Do I have that kind of loyal, humble, trusting devotion to my Savior?"


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    April 15, 2019 #268: "Have Mercy on Me" by The Porter's Gate Worship Project (feat. David Gungor)

    Mercy is one of those things that I want freely bestowed upon me, and yet I tend to be pretty stingy with mercy for others. God's Word has wrecked me over the past few weeks as it relates to mercy. The Porter's Gate Worship Project has a haunting ballad that has complimented my study as I worship with their song, "Have Mercy on Me." As we look intently into the mercy of God, may we better reflect it in our own lives. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Use an outside resource - I used this excerpt from a book by Herman Bavinck Explore a topic Write out Scripture Slow down Make a list Complete a word study Being initially inspired by Psalm 18:25-27 that we first discussed on Episode #266 How I need to see God's mercy and so I need to learn to be merciful Bavinck's definition, "The goodness of God, when shown to those in misery, is called mercy." A great confession of the Old Testament - Exodus 34:6 The results of mercy as found in Deuteronomy 4:31 God's great mercy despite our unfaithfulness - 2 Chronicles 30:9 Contrasting God's mercy to the ways of men in Psalm 86:15 Realizing God's mercy is what causes his wondrous works to be remembered as we see in Psalm 111:4 and as discussed on Episode #265 Contrasting the attitude of men with the mercy of God in 2 Samuel 24:14 and Proverbs 12:10 Completing a word study on three different words translated as mercy Rachum Channun Checed Mercy triumphs over judgement - James 2:13       Additional Resources Lyrics and music - Porter's Gate Worship Project Story Behind the Porter's Gate Worship Project - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Use the excerpt I found by Herman Bavinck to look up all of the Scripture references for yourself. Write out the Scriptures in your own handwriting. Perhaps even commit this confession to heart — “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."


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    April 8, 2019 #267: "Best News Ever" by MercyMe

    Did you know that you could actually hear the best news ever, and it is for you, and you could miss it? It happens all the time. MercyMe sings of the "Best News Ever" and inspired me to head into Scripture to see what we can do to make sure we don't miss out. image credit: YouVersion It's a simple call from the mouth of Jesus. Have you responded? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Read in context Listen to an audio version of Scriptures Complete a word study Our destination this week - Matthew 11:28-30 The importance to Matthew that things happened to Jesus to specifically fulfill prophecy Sitting in the tension of Scripture when you're not really sure what it means Religious people of Jesus' day completely missed the fact that he was the Messiah - John 5:39-40 My desire that my listeners would study Scripture, but that they wouldn't miss Jesus in the process Jesus' call to us..."come to me" Completing a word study on "yoke" - BibleHub.com The yoke of Christ is like any other - it unites us to Him to move and work together as one How Christ's commands are to be submitted to, it's just that they bring balance to our lives, not burden - 1 John 5:3     Additional Resources Lyrics - KLove Story Behind the Song "Best News Ever" by MercyMe - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Matthew 10-12 to gain the context of your focus text. Sit in the tension of what Jesus is saying in Matthew 11:25-30. Meditate on verses 28-30 and in that moment choose to come to Christ with your burden. Exchange your way for His way. That this option is even on the table truly is the Best News Ever.


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    March 25, 2019 #266: "Defender" by Francesca Battistelli

    God is our Defender. It is important to remember that the next time you feel the need to defend yourself. Psalm 18 says God's gift of salvation to us is our shield. So why do I think my words are my shield? Or my silence? Or any effort on my part? Francesca Battistelli's song "Defender" leads us to Scripture and to considering this and other characteristics of God. I suppose the question is now, "What how will we respond in the future now that we know the truth?" On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Repetition Read in context One Word Share with a friend Make a list Our destination this week - Psalm 18 Where you can find this Psalm in 2 Samuel - 2 Samuel 22 Reading the story of David in context up to this song The historical perspective that this song was adapted from a personal song of David (in 2 Samuel 22) to a congregational Psalm Reading Psalm 18 together with a friend and following the pattern of choose one word that jumps out at you and discussing that Some of my daughter's "one word"s: Rock - Psalm 18:1-3 Saved - Psalm 18:3-5 Heard - Psalm 18:6 Angry - Psalm 18:7-15 Drew me out - Psalm 18:16-19 Making a list of the pattern of David's life that was right Characteristics of God we may miss and why HOW David was able to live a righteous life - Psalm 18:28-29 My "one word" for the Psalm - shield - Psalm 18:30-36     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipChords.net This Week's Challenge Read through Psalm 18. I suggest reading it with a friend and exchanging your “one words.” It’s just a great way to consider the amazing characteristics of the Lord and all that we should aspire to be...equipped by Him, of course.


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    March 18, 2019 #265: Pausing to Remember

    It's important to stop and remember the Lord. I don't do that nearly enough. I'm always on to the next thing. The people of God needed to do this as well. Instructions in this matter were even left for us to benefit from as well. Join me in Deuteronomy as we take a moment to pause to remember what the Lord has taught us. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Read in context Read and keep on reading Journal your conversation with God Moses' encouragement to God's people to obey and to remember: Deuteronomy 4:1-2 Deuteronomy 4:9 Deuteronomy 4:40 Deuteronomy 5:1 Deuteronomy 5:32 Deuteronomy 6:3 Deuteronomy 6:10-12 A night to remember Reading in Deuteronomy and considering: why Moses would emphasize obedience and remembrance so much what area(s) of your life you are pushing back on obeying God and in what ways it might not be going so well for you scheduling a time for you to journal and celebrate some milestones in your own life Remembering how my perspective changed about "refining" in Episode #126 Remembering what I learned from Thomas in Episode #58 Remembering to lead with joy in Episode #224     This Week's Challenge Read Deuteronomy 1-6 for yourself. If you're so inclined...keep reading! Make note of each time Moses emphasizes obedience and remembrance. Consider what area of your life you are pushing back on obeying God and in what ways it might not be going so well for you. Journal your conversation with God and write down some milestones from your own life.


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    March 12, 2019 #264: "Nobody Loves Me Like You" by Chris Tomlin

    "Nobody loves me like you" is a simple phrase, but hold profound truth when we consider the love God has for us. We can never plumb the depths of God's love, but it's worth considering the details we can uncover in Scripture. Inspired by Chris Tomlin's song, "Nobody Loves Me Like You," we explore the example of love God has set for us. Let's head over to 1 John to learn more. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include:
    Reading in a variety of translations Read in context The Voice translation as found on BibleGateway.com Our focus area of Scripture - 1 John 4:7-12 God's love as an attribute as described by Wayne Grudem in "Systematic Theology" Dynamic equivalent translations - GotQuestions.org Comparing our focus verse in a variety of translations Being willing to do the "heavy lifting" when we stumble upon areas of Scripture we don't understand The definition of love - 1 John 4:10 God loved us first - 1 John 4:10, Ephesians 1:4 God's love is sacrificial - 1 John 4:11, John 3:16, John 15:13 God's love is accomplishing - 1 John 4:12 God's love is displayed as an example and we're supposed to repeat it - 1 John 4:11 The Holy Spirit enables us to love - 1 John 4:13     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together Story behind the song "Nobody Loves Me Like You" by Chris Tomlin - New Song Cafe by Worship Together - You Tube Video Story behind the song "Nobody Loves Me Like You" by Chris Tomlin - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Read all of 1 John in a translation you are not familiar with. Focus in on the unique love God has for us and meditate on what that means for our lives. How would your life look different if you devoted yourself to displaying the kind of love God has modeled for us?


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    March 4, 2019 #263: "New Wine" by Hillsong Worship

    Jesus turned the world upside down with his wisdom and teaching. He also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way -- especially religious people -- because He did things differently. "New Wine" by Hillsong Worship inspired me to explore a time when Jesus used new wine in a metaphor. Let's explore the gospels together to learn more. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Repetition Meditation Compare and contrast Consult a commentary Using section headings to get your bearings Read in context Defining "synoptic gospels" The historical audiences of the gospels Reading the gospels in parallel as taught by “How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth” by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart Diving into the metaphor of new wine inspired by our song - Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-39 How and why John's disciples and Pharisees were fasting - Matthew‬ ‭6:16-18‬ Exploring the old and the new in our metaphors and what they represent Jesus as the bridegroom - Isaiah 62:1-5 Becoming a new vessel for new wine - Ephesians 4:17-24     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together Story behind the song "New Wine" by Hillsong Worship - New Song Cafe by Worship Together - You Tube Video This Week's Challenge Read Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 2, and Luke chapter 5. Focus in on Jesus’ discussion with John’s disciples about fasting and consider what elements were “old" in this metaphor and what elements are “new.” If you have never accepted the free gift of salvation in Christ, please don’t delay. Once you are made new, however, the journey is not over. Continue to "put off your old self…and be renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Ephesians 4:17-24) through your continued dedication to reading and studying the Word of God for yourself.


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    February 25, 2019 #262: "What a Beautiful Name" by Hillsong Worship

    We can learn so much through the study of the names of God. Hillsong Worship's song, "What a Beautiful Name," puts the name of Jesus front and center in a moving song of worship. How much more powerful will this song be when you invest some time in discovering and contemplating a few names revealed in God's Word? Let's go to the beginning with Jesus, shall we? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Consult a commentary - I used Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology this week Follow the cross references Make a list Journal How John calls Jesus "The Word" - John 1:1-3 The doctrine of the trinity - God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God Wayne Grudem's audio presentation on the trinity - Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4 The name for Jesus in John 1:1 - Logos Jesus was in the beginning - John 1:1 Jesus is God - John 1:1 Jesus was WITH God - John 1:2 God created everything through Jesus - John 1:3 We see each person of God in the beginning - Elohim - Genesis 1:1-3 Just because God is plural doesn't mean there is more than one God - Deuteronomy 6:4 A powerful passage that brings it all together - Colossians 1:15-17 "Let us" - Genesis 1:26 The Name above all names - Philippians 2:1-11 Making a list of our response to these amazing truths Trusting in the Name of Jesus - Proverbs 18:10     Additional Resources Lyrics Inside the Music "What a Beautiful Name" by Hillsong Worship - KLove YouTube Video This Week's Challenge I spent time in three key areas -- John 1, Genesis 1, and Philippians 2. You don't have to do that. You can look up other names of God and research those. Journal. Sing. Pray. Meditate on the names of God. Ask God what about each name should impact the way you view Him.


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    February 18, 2019 #261: "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle

    Trust is a key foundation to our relationship with God the Father, Son AND Holy Spirit. When we allow our circumstances to define the character of God rather than His Word, we can easily be led to fear and doubt instead of trust. "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle is a profound proclamation in song of our trust in God despite our circumstances. We will once again use the gift of a song to lead us to an even deeper impact on our souls, and that is hiding the truth of Scripture deep inside. On this episode I discuss: Deciding today to allow God's Word to define God's character and not our circumstances Taking a B.I.T.E. Out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is: Creating review cards by hand writing key Scriptures Most useful when you actually review them! How trusting in God is mentioned twice and "fret not" is mentioned 3 times in 8 short verses - Psalm 37:1-8 Being sure we are not an "evildoer" as we read through Psalm 37 My "life verse" - Proverbs 3:5-6 Heeding God's warning to operate in our own wisdom - Proverbs 3:7-8 The verses from Psalm 37 that I chose to write out on review cards Psalm 37:3 - I love the idea of "befriending faithfulness" Psalm 37:4 - I talk about delighting ourselves in the Lord Psalm 37:5-6 - Trusting God to act on our behalf Psalm 37:12-13 - A wonderful look at God's perspective Psalm 37:23-24 - Even though our steps are "custom fit" by God when we delight in His ways, we may still fall The verses I chose to represent the lyrics from the bridge of "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle You are my strength and comfort - Psalm 27:1 You are my steady hand - Psalm 37:23-24 You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand - 1 Corinthians 3:11 Your ways are always higher - Isaiah 55:9 Your plans are always good - Jeremiah 29:11 There's not a place where I'll go, you've not already stood - Psalm 139:5     Additional Resources Lyrics The story behind the song "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Use this song to inspire you to spend some time in Psalm 37 this week. Take a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture by following the Bible Interaction Tool Exercise of writing down key verses on note cards and review them regularly. Review them before you get in the car in the morning. Review them before you break for lunch in the afternoon. Have your spouse or children read them to you while you're driving. Call up a friend and read the verses to them. Allow God's Word to define the character of God and not your circumstances. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will act.


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    February 11, 2019 #260: "Thy Will" by Hillary Scott

    In difficult seasons of life we often seek to know "why," or even blame someone or something as if it makes it all better. This week's song "Thy Will" by Hillary Scott is a moving ballad of surrender to the will of a God we can trust. I use this song to introduce us to Hagar, who had to do a little submitting to God's will herself. I find it so interesting that Hagar gets to name God in this section of God's Word. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is: Journal your dialogue with God Being in a situation where you thought God led you, but now you are just broken and hurt The story behind why Hillary Scott hasn't shared what the song is about for her - You Tube Video Potential areas of Scripture that this song might lead - Matthew 6, Luke 11 The promise of God to Abram without the "how" or "when" details we all long for - Genesis 15:5-6 Introduction to Hagar, servant of Sarai in Genesis 16 How it ended up that Hagar was pulled into Abram and Sarai's story - Genesis 16:2 From conception to contempt - Genesis 16:3-4 How Sarai was hoppin' mad at the consequences of her own choices - Genesis 16:5-6 Some messages by Beth Moore that helped me understand this section better - The God Who Sees God's tendency to ask us questions to draw into dialogue with Him - Genesis 16:7-9 God's call for submission along with a promise - Genesis 16:10-12 The part where Hagar names God - Genesis 16:13       Additional Resources Lyrics and the story behind the song - Taste of Country This Week's Challenge Read Genesis 16 and try this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises of journaling your dialogue with God based on the questions posed to Hagar in verse 8. Then, if God gives you direction, follow it...submit to His authority over your life. You can trust Him.  


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    February 4, 2019 #259: "Even If" by Mercy Me

    We can hide behind convenient truth when things are swell, but when our feet are to the fire the deep truth tends to come out. Will we be willing to log years of faithfulness such that our circumstances no longer define God's ability or position in our minds? "Even If" by MercyMe leads us to a powerful "even if" moment in Scripture. What can we learn from three friends in a foreign land? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Reading in context Reviewing introductions to books of the Bible Consider the historical context Introduction to the Book of Daniel - BlueLetterBible.org The background of the three friends highlighted in Daniel 3 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's position in the province of Babylon - Daniel 2:49 Despite their wisdom and faithful service to the king, there were those waiting to tattle on the friends - Daniel 3:8 What the friends chose to direct their attention to We don't have to defend ourselves and we don't have to defend God The enemy's "go-to" play from his playbook as old as the Garden of Eden itself The fact that the friends had long since decided how they would respond     Additional Resources Download the single or entire album by clicking the link below. Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Daniel 3 in context -- meaning start in chapter 1 and read all the way through chapter 3. Consider the historical context of this story. Perhaps even complete additional study on the historical details. Ask yourself how you would respond in this situation. Decide today that you will remain faithful even if God doesn't choose to rescue you in the manner you desire.


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    January 28, 2019 #258: "Maybe It's Ok" by We Are Messengers

    Your emotions and feelings are real, but they are not reliable. This week we will use "Maybe It's Ok" by We Are Messengers to explore the truth about God so that we can truly say, "It's okay that I'm not okay." We can trust God to hold it all together even when we feel like it's all falling apart. Let's discover this together in Scripture. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Make a list Follow the cross references The wonderful conference I attended - Proclaim Truth Conference Your emotions and feelings are real, but they are not reliable Instead of taking our cues from our emotions, we rely upon who God has told us He is It is wrong to seek knowledge of self independent of our knowledge of God Reading Colossians 1:15-20 to discover the characteristics of Christ Discovering that not only did Christ create all things, but He holds all things together Following the cross reference to John 1:1-3 Making a list of all the things Christ created How all things are created for Christ...not us Christ is the sustainer of all things - Hebrews 1:3   Additional Resources The story behind the song "Maybe It's OK" by We Are Messengers - YouTube Lyrics - Klove This Week's Challenge Read Colossians this week and then take a few moments to home in on Colossians 1:15-20. Make a list of the characteristics of Christ you see here. Use a study Bible or online resource to follow cross-references to other parts of God’s Word to see what it says about these characteristics of Christ. Really consider these characteristics and then view your “not ok” circumstances through the lens of the Savior who holds all things together.


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    January 21, 2019 #257: "Into Dust" by Mack Brock

    Sometimes our lives can be broken. Other times we can be completely decimated -- rendering us into a pile of dust. How fortunate for us that we serve a Creator Who knows just what to do with dust. Mack Brock sings of God's ability to create out of dust in his song "Into Dust." Let's be encouraged together as we explore what God can do with a little dust in Scripture. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Make a list An example of how something may look perfect on the outside, but be so fragile it can explode into a cloud of dust The story behind the song "Into Dust" by Mack Brock - Worship Together The book by Lysa Terkeurst - It's Not Supposed to Be This Way "Dust doesn't have to signify the end. Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin." - Lysa Terkeurst Article How in Scripture God uses dust to create, to heal, and to start over God using dust to create - Genesis 2:4-7 God using dust to heal - John 9:1-7 How God doesn't NEED dust...He spoke into creation and healed from afar...but He sometimes chooses to use it God uses dust and water (a.k.a. clay) to form and reform us into the vessel as He sees fit - Jeremiah 18:1-12   Additional Resources The story behind the song "Into Dust" by Mack Brock with Lyrics and Chords - Worship Together This Week's Challenge Read Genesis 1 and 2, John 9, and Jeremiah 18. Ponder how God used dust in each of these areas of Scripture. Perhaps these can be jumping off points for you to read larger chunks of Scripture. Listen to His voice, repent and return. Amend your ways and deeds. Trust your dust in the hands of the master potter.


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    January 14, 2019 #256: "Shattered" by Blanca

    I dropped a glass casserole lid on my tile kitchen floor the other day. It shattered into a host of small pieces. I'm still finding pieces of glass here and there. There's a difference between being broken and shattered. Shattered seem so irreparable. In Blanca's song "Shattered" she reminds us that the task of putting the shattered pieces back together is not too big for God. Scripture offers many examples of shattered lives that God touches. We'll look at one example together this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Make observations Ask questions Consult a map Remembering the people described in the Bible were real Consult section headings Read in a variety of translations Make a list Define words How we are able to comfort others because of our own experiences - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 The daily practice of being washed in the Word as an act of worship - Ephesians 5:26-27 The story of the widow of Nain - Luke 7:11-17 Asking questions like, "Soon after what?" and "Where did he come from?" Looking up the towns mentioned in God's Word on a map...or even Google earth (after all they are real places and many still exist today) Picturing the crowd with Jesus and the crowd with the widow Defining a bier while considering the funeral customs of the day Making a list of the people depicted in this short story REALLY looking at the widow of Nain and considering the shattered pieces of her story Coming face to face with how Jesus RESPONDED He saw her He had compassion on her He spoke to her He came up to the bier He touched the bier He spoke to the dead man He gave him to his mother The Japanese art of Kinsugi - Lifegate Article Additional Resources The story behind the song "Shattered" by Blanca with Lyrics - Free CCM Article with video links Behind the song "Shattered" by Blanca - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Read Luke 7 for yourself. You might even take the challenge of reading in context — reading chapter 6 through 8 for yourself. Take a close look at Jesus in these stories. Identify the characteristics of your Savior that you may have glossed over in the past. Interact with the Word! Make observations, write them in lists, look up words you don’t understand, and enjoy your time being washed with the water of the Word.


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    January 7, 2019 #255: "Only Jesus" by Casting Crowns

    We live in a very self-centered society these days. I read a study recently that stated that 1 in 5 millennials would quit their job to become famous. This is not the way of Jesus, however. Casting Crowns song "Only Jesus" reminds us that "Jesus is the only name to remember." Join me in Psalm 115 as we join the Psalmist in comparing and contrasting God and idols (anything that sets itself up as a god in our lives). On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Compare and contrast Make a list Journal your dialogue with God Rapid Bible Read Through with Keith Ferrin - KeithFerrin.com "In the beginning, God..." everything that was created was made by God and for His glory The tension for me to give God glory alone and build a platform where more people can be exposed to what God is saying through me How the theme of Psalm 115 matches our song this week - Psalm 115:1 Our "what have you done for me lately society" - Psalm 115:2 God rescued us just like He rescued the Israelites from Egypt - instead of from a land of slavery, from a life of slavery to sin - 2 Corinthians 5:21 Our great High Priest who completely saves and intercedes - Hebrews 7:24-27 Making a t-chart with the characteristics of God on one side and the characteristics of idols on the other Rather than trusting in idols that are lifeless and ineffective and becoming like them, we are called to trust in the Lord - Psalm 115:9-11 The house of Aaron (extra credit! learn more about Aaron beginning in Exodus) If you are a follower of Christ, you are described in the New Testament as a priest - 1 Peter 2:9-10 Our current circumstances do NOT define our God - Psalm 115:12-13 The final compare and contrast of the Psalm - Psalm 115:17-18     Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - Essential Worship This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 115 and make a list of God’s characteristics and a list of the characteristics of idols (and ultimately those who trust in them). Compare and contrast what you see in the two lists. Feel free to follow a side-path of reading about Aaron in Exodus (and beyond) to understand a little more about the “house of Aaron” mentioned in this Psalm. Consider the idols in our day and age. Could fame or legacy be an idol that has seeped into your life threatening to dethrone Christ as the King of Kings of your heart? Declare with our song this week and through prayer, "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory."


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    December 31, 2018 #254: "Red Letters" by Crowder

    The red letters in our Bibles highlight the words of Christ. In Crowder's new song "Red Letters" he sings of the power of those words to change our hearts as the Holy Spirit breathes life into our spiritually dead bodies. There are some pretty big ideas woven into this song. Let's explore the Scriptural basis together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Referring to an outside resource Reading in a variety of translations Consulting all four gospel accounts The history of the Red Letter Bible - Crossway.org Article How this song reminds us of the Scriptural truth that we are born sinners and God sent a Messiah to redeem and restore all things We are sinners not only by action and attitude, but by nature - Ephesians 2:1-3 Our destiny is hell without Jesus - John 3:35-36 Christ's arrest and crucifixion - John 18-19 How the priests lost sight of their true role and thus missed the Messiah in their midst Connecting the "prison walls" in our song to the veil in the temple torn in two - Matthew 27:50-53 The significance of the veil being torn in two - GotQuestions.org Article The miracle of the cancellation of our debt through Christ's sacrifice on the cross - Colossians 2:13-14   Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords - Worship Together This Week's Challenge Sit in a larger chunk of Scripture by heading over to John 18 and 19 to review the details of Christ's crucifixion. Consider what Christ nailed to the cross as explained in Colossians 2:13-14 as you sing along with this week's song. Read this article about the creator of the Red Letter Bible and his hope for you, the reader of God's Word. Ponder the red letters of Christ's words, the red thread of redemption woven throughout the Old and New Testaments, and the significance of the salvation and freedom offered through Christ's sacrifice.  


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    December 24, 2018 #253: "Christmas Eve in Bethlehem" by Hannah Kerr

    Have you ever been asked to, "Walk a mile in someone else's shoes?" That's exactly the journey I took this week as I used Hannah Kerr's "Christmas Eve in Bethlehem" to lead me to the Christmas story once again. This time through the Christmas story we'll seek to place ourselves inside the story and see how the story would/should go in our lives today. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Listen to an audio version of the text Remembering the people depicted in the Christmas story were REAL Jen Wilkin's C.I.A. Method - Comprehension, Interpretation, Application Tackling this week's question (that falls into the application step), "How would I respond?" The shepherds were real, Mary was real, Joseph was real...you get the idea How the "inn" may have been a family room and the manger may have been in the house - GotQuestions.org When Jesus comes at an inconvenient time, can we be bothered to make room? The warning to the Church at Laodicea that we should heed as well - Revelation 3:15-22 Exploring how the shepherds believed - Luke 2:15-17 Do I hear truth, go and see it for myself, and then share it with my friends? Taking note from the Magi who journeyed far and at great expense to worship Jesus - Matthew 2:1-12   Additional Resources Lyrics - Klove This Week's Challenge Read or listen to the Christmas story once again in Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2, and John 1. This time, remember that the people found in these accounts were REAL. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you respond? How DO you respond when God’s plans may lead you to give up your own comfort like the family members of Mary and Joseph? When God reveals something new to you do you hear, believe, see for yourself, and then share with others like the shepherds? Are you compelled to worship Jesus as a result of your study of Scripture like the Magi? Pray and ask God to reveal what He wants you to see in the Christmas story this year.


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    December 17, 2018 #252: “Jesus is Alive” by Josh Wilson

    "Jesus is Alive" is not normally a Christmas greeting, but I guess it could be! Josh Wilson's song "Jesus is Alive" reminds us all that Christ first came to life in human form as a baby in Bethlehem so long ago. That breath changed everything! When Jesus came back to life after Calvary, that breath changed everything again! So whether we are thinking of Christmas or the Resurrection, let's declare that Jesus is alive! There is joy in the coming of Christ, but that doesn't mean that His coming eliminated all grief. Let's explore the two together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition - this is the fourth week in Christmas story Scriptures Make a list Read in context My desire for you to read the Bible and know what it says Making a list of verbs in Luke 2:8-20 Contrasting the "good news of great joy" with the grief also found in and around the story How "long journey," "no room," and "manger crib" would not have been in my birthing plan (and frankly were probably not in Mary's either) How a virgin birth could cause grief - consider Matthew 1:18-19 What may have happened between verse 24 and 25 - Matthew 1:24-25 The section of the story we tend to skip over - Matthew 2:16-18 How the good news that brings great joy was impacted but not superseded by sin and sorrow The disciples own grief to joy moments predicted by Jesus in John 16:17-22 How Mary Magdalene's grief blinded her to the presence of Jesus standing right before her - John 20:11-18  Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Praise Charts The story behind the song "Jesus is Alive" by Josh Wilson - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Give yourself permission to explore the joy and the grief in the Christmas story and in this season in your life. Read in Luke 2 and make a list of verbs and let them take you into your own adventure in Scripture. Don’t turn away from the grief described in Matthew chapter 2 or in John 16. Bring your sorrows and joys to the feet of Jesus. And like Mary Magdalene when she said, “I have seen the Lord!” and shared the words of Jesus with her friends, do the same with those in your life — sharing truth with a friend is the best!    


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    December 10, 2018 #251: "These Christmas Lights" by Matt Redman

    Lights are a major part of modern-day Christmas decorating traditions. It’s what completes the tree, or lights up small-town streets. The lights of Christmas and Matt Redman’s Christmas song “These Christmas Lights” is our inspiration to explore Scripture all about the Light of the World.     Use the lights of Christmas to remind you that Jesus is the true light. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Slow down - linger Repetition - this is the third week in Christmas story Scriptures Read and keep on reading Follow the cross references My struggle with lingering Considering the Christmas story after lingering in the knowledge of previous episodes (episode 248) The angels were doing what they were created to do - Luke 2:13-14, Psalm 148:5-6 Praise the Lord...and sometimes use words Using Christmas lights to remind me of the glory of the Lord shining around the shepherds the night of our Savior’s birth - Luke 2:9 Using Christmas lights to remind me that Jesus is the true light that gives light to everyone - John 1:9-14 Using Christmas lights to remind me that Jesus is a great light in the darkness - Isaiah 9:1-2, Matthew 4:12-17 Using Christmas lights to remind me of the call on my life to shine and reflect - Matthew 5:14-16 Not observing the lights and looking away, but tarrying in His splendor    Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together The story behind the song "These Christmas Lights" by Matt Redman - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge This week I explored the topic of light as it relates to Christ’s birth, but allowed what God has been teaching me to guide my path in Scripture. When I followed his lead, it took me back to Psalm 148 to link all that I've learned together. I encourage you to do the same. Read Scripture, but take time to meditate on it and consider what God may be revealing to you before quickly moving on to something else. (And yes, I explored new areas in Matthew and Isaiah, too. Sometimes I just can't help myself.)


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    December 3, 2018 #250: "Noel" by Chris Tomlin ft. Lauren Daigle

    When you drive up to a traffic circle and encounter a red triangular sign, it triggers a behavior to yield to traffic in the circle. If you're married and gaze upon your wedding band, it may trigger memories of your wedding day or perhaps just bring your spouse's face to mind. There are signs and symbols everywhere that prick our memories or guide our behaviors -- especially at Christmas. This week, we will use "Noel" as sung by Lauren Daigle on Chris Tomlin's new Christmas album to point us to the symbols of Christmas and Scriptural truth we can take with us all year long. Invest in some time learning Scripture references that the symbols of Christmas can spark in your mind for years to come. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore a topic - the symbols of Christmas Use an outside resource - a video/outline by my mentor, Merida Brooks What the word "sign" means in the Greek - Luke 2:12 The symbols of Christmas and what they can point to in Scripture Christmas tree Evergreen tree points to everlasting life in Christ - John 17:3 A tree reminds us to be rooted in Christ - Colossians 2:7 A Christmas tree gives up it's thriving life to bring us joy and blessing in our homes just as Christ gave up His life for us Star The wise men from the east followed the star to find Jesus - Matthew 2:1-11 The star led the wise men to Jesus. Who led you to Jesus? Wise men still seek Jesus Angels Angels appear throughout the Christmas story in Luke 1, Matthew 1 and Luke 2 Just as the angel's role was to proclaim Jesus to the shepherds, our role is to proclaim Christ as well - Colossians 1:28 Tree lights The lights brighten the dark shadows in a Christmas tree We are to shine like lights in a dark world - Matthew 5:16 Candy cane Upside down it is a "J" for Jesus Right side up it looks like a shepherd's staff and reminds us that Jesus is our good shepherd - John 10:11 The red and white colors remind us of Jesus' shed blood and His pure and sinless life Candles Jesus is the light of the world - John 8:12 Ornaments Ornaments do not shine with their own light, but reflect the light instead We are designed to reflect the light of Christ - 2 Corinthians 3:18 Snowflakes Snowflakes softly float to the ground - Be still and know - Psalm 46:10 Our scarlet sins have been made white as snow through the sacrifice of Christ - Isaiah 1:18 Holly The thorny leaves on a holly leaf can serve to remind us of the crown of thorns that tore into Christ's brow at the crucifixion - John 19:2 The red berries again remind us of Christ's blood shed for us Stockings Stockings are for feet and point directly to the armor of God where we are taught that our feet are to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace - Ephesians 6:15 Our feet should be bringing the good news and proclaiming salvation to all - Isaiah 52:7 Gifts We can remember the gifts the wise men brought Jesus in Matthew 2 Jesus is the best gift of all - 2 Corinthians 9:15   Additional Resources Lyrics The Legend of the Candy Cane - The Candymaker's Gift - YouTube Video The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg - Amazon The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Pat Matuszak - Amazon My mentor, Merida Brooks, unpacking the Christmas symbols on a Christmas video This Week's Challenge Read the Christmas story again this week.  Read Matthew 1:18-24, then Luke 2:1-20, then Matthew 2:1-12 and you'll get it all in! If you're up for a greater challenge, take the list of Christmas symbols and the references found in this week's show notes and dig in!


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    November 26, 2018 #249: "When I Think Upon Christmas" by Hillsong Worship

    What do you think of when you think of Christmas? Family traditions? Decorations? Gift giving and receiving? When Hillsong Worship sings "When I Think Upon Christmas" they sing of the greatest gift of all time...Jesus, God with us, Savior of the world. Let's take a close look at the accounts of the birth of Christ together. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Compare and contrast Ask questions What do I learn about God in this Scripture? His character His conduct His concerns The wrong question, "What does it mean to me?" Getting rid of misconceptions about what is and is not in the Christmas story by reading it for ourselves in Scripture Not skipping the genealogy in Matthew 1 Episode 149 Knowing Faith Podcast - Jesus' Family Tree A wonderful book recommendation - “Asking the Right Questions” by Matthew Harmon Stopping to ponder the tragic details in history surrounding Christ’s birth because of the wise men's visit to King Herod How in Mark’s gospel the beginning of the good news isn’t Jesus’ birth at all, but his public ministry The common details in Luke’s account that we find in the traditional Christmas carols that we sing How John speaks of the beginning of creation where Jesus was present and through whom everything was made, but did not include details of His birth Contrast point - the birth of Christ is not included in all four gospels Comparison point - all four gospels refer to "the beginning" (in two, the beginning of Christ's earthly ministry, and in the others the beginning of creation and God's people)   Additional Resources Lyrics - Hillsong Worship Chords - Worship Together Spotify Link to "When I Think Upon Christmas" by Hillsong Worship This Week's Challenge Read the beginning of all four gospels for yourself. Read the account of the birth of Christ in context, not just small sections. Compare and contrast what you read from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As you begin to ask questions while reading, be sure to start with comprehension questions, then God-centered questions before you jump to any sort of application questions. When you think upon Christmas this year, I pray that what God’s Word says about the birth of Christ would be one of the first things on your mind.


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    November 19, 2018 #248: "Thank You, Lord" by Dennis Jernigan

    How could I miss that? The answer is usually because I'm not paying attention. Dennis Jernigan's song, "Thank You, Lord," might not be a new worship anthem, but it gives us a great structure to linger in some areas of Scripture we've covered in the past few weeks on the podcast. It will do our hearts good to go back over some ground we've covered to see if there might be something we missed that we can turn into thanksgiving to our God. Try a new technique to tarry in God's Word with new purpose. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: The color method Annotate Define words Pray Scripture Where I first heard this song (hint: it was a while back) Learning to linger by going back to sections of Scripture we've covered the last few weeks Psalm 148 - Episode 244 Daniel 6 - Episode 245 Jonah 2 - Episode 246 Isaiah 26 - Episode 247 Using this week's song as the structure for our study and the color method to interact with God's Word for all that You've done for all that You're going to do for all that You've promised for all that You are How God is splendorous - Psalm 148:13 Using this week's BITE to help you pray better The law of God as a promise - Joshua 1:7-9 Daniel with a heart of gratitude in every circumstance - 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 How what God has done, and what He will do, and what He promises, and Who He is are so tightly woven together it's difficult to separate the strands Summarizing what we're learning into a prayer back to God Recognizing that it doesn't seem to bother Scripture to declare God as One who both hurls Jonah into the deep and brings his life up from the pit Being thankful for God as the Rock Eternal the Upright One majestic and the establisher of peace - Isaiah 26     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Higher Praise Spotify Link to "Thank You, Lord" by Dennis Jernigan This Week's Challenge Try these BITEs (Bible Interaction Tool Exercises) for yourself! Take four colors and print out Scripture with wide margins. (On this episode we used Psalm 148, Daniel 6, Jonah 2, and Isaiah 26 to coincide with the last four podcast episodes.) Underline what God has done in one color, what He is going to do in another, what He has promised in another, and WHO He is in another. Then start making lists, or jotting down observations. Turn your discoveries into prayers of thanksgiving — acknowledging ALL that God is, what He has done, and what He is going to do.


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    November 12, 2018 #247: "Peace Be Still" by The Belonging Co (feat. Lauren Daigle)

    Maybe it's too many Hallmark Movies, but I love it when the protagonist leans in and puts her head on the shoulder of the man she's fallen in love with. In that act there is a sense of love, safety, and trust. In the song by The Belonging Co, "Peace Be Still," Lauren Daigle sings about faith rising up and peace reigning. This very thing shows up in another song found in the book of Isaiah where we learn to "lean in" to our Father through trust. Join me as we explore the words of this Old Testament prophet. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Listen to audio version Refer to an overview/outline - Blue Letter Bible Link One Word Annotate - use my free resource to guide you as an example Complete a Word Study How to not overthink it - use anything to inspire you to pick up your Bible and read it for yourself Letting God's Word speak for itself - don't try to make it fit a mold or expectation Printing out Isaiah 26 double-spaced to gift room for notes Working through the chapter verse by verse and circling one word in each verse Making observations, asking questions, making connections, and more Discovering things like the strength of our salvation the importance of remembrance how to learn righteousness what God does FOR us God ordains peace and more... The prophecy about the Messiah in earlier chapters - Isaiah 9:7 The inspiration verse - Isaiah 26:3 What "stayed" in Isaiah 26:3 means - BibleHub.com Word Study Link Staying our minds by staying in God's Word Leaning in and welcoming the perfect peace God offers     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship Spotify Link to "Peace Be Still" by The Belonging Co (feat. Lauren Daigle) "Shalom As Wholeness: Embracing the Broad Biblical Message" - Article by Leslie Allen at Fuller Studio   This Week's Challenge Read Isaiah 26 for yourself. Consult an overview introduction of the entire book to place the chapter in context. Print out a double spaced copy and circle one word in each verse. Annotate — write out your thoughts and observations in the margin. Use my sample to help you interact with God’s Word this week in new ways.


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    November 5, 2018 #246: "Head Above Water" by Avril Lavigne

    Do you ever feel like you are drowning with seaweed wrapped around your head? It's a pretty descriptive picture of distress that I see in Scripture AND in Avril Lavigne's new song, "Head Above Water." When we're drowning in life let's cry out to God for rescue because "salvation belongs to the Lord!" Let's talk about Jonah, Jesus, and the folly of taking things into our own hands. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Listen to audio version Repetition Use multiple translations The story behind Avril Lavigne's song "Head Above Water" - God Tube Article The power of linking your Bible study to music Linking some of the lyrics of our song and the actions of Jonah Encouragement in the prayer of Jonah - Jonah 2 How Jonah points to Jesus - Matthew 12:38-41 The keys for Jonah in his distress Remembering the Lord Praying to Him Gratitude Dependence upon God for salvation     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords The story behind the song "Head Above Water" by Avril Lavigne - God Tube Article Spotify Link to "Head Above Water" by Avril Lavigne   This Week's Challenge Read Jonah for yourself. Read it several times or listen to an audio version of it. If you feel like you are drowning in life, spend some time reflecting on Jonah’s prayer. Ultimately, look to the author of your salvation Jesus Christ to rescue you. Cry out to Him in faith…He will hear your voice and bring up your life from the pit.  


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    October 29, 2018 #245: "Confidence" by Sanctus Real

    The world today has a way taking good and noble things and twisting them into something God never intended. As we spend time in Scripture inspired by Sanctus Real's song "Confidence," the stark contrast between God's way and the world's way rises to the surface. Join me as we jump into God's Word and combat bad ideas with truth. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Consider a topic Consider the opposite Write out observations Deciding WHO will be our confidence - Proverbs 3:26 Considering what the world deems as confidence building exercises and comparing them to accounts of men of faith in God's Word The methods the father of lies uses uses to distort truth twist the truth slightly (by the way...that equals a lie) mix in truth with lies put some "that sounds like a good idea" stuff in there (don't forget, God's ways are higher than our ways) Looking intently into the truth - James 1:25 The account of Daniel in the lion's den in Daniel 6 Daniel lived a consistent life apart from his circumstances Daniel's confidence was in the Lord despite the outcome Daniel was confident that the part was to act out faultlessly in obedience How the world says to build confidence by visualizing yourself in a better place, but Daniel's mental efforts were spent in obedience How the world says to affirm yourself, but as a result of Daniel's obedience the LORD was affirmed and glorified (which should be our goal) - Daniel 6:25-27 Moses who had no self-confidence David who suffered rejection How all three men flexed the faith muscles necessary to get through scary situations Building our faith through obedience and confidence in God alone for His glory alone     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords The story behind the song "Confidence" by Sanctus Real - YouTube Video Spotify Link to "Confidence" by Sanctus Real   This Week's Challenge Read up on Daniel (Book of Daniel), Moses (start in the Book of the Exodus), and David (start in 1 Samuel). Don’t be afraid to read and keep on reading making observations along the way. As you read, consider the topic of confidence and observe where these men of faith rooted their confidence.


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    October 22, 2018 #244: "So Will I (100 Billion X)" by Hillsong United

    The Psalmist readily acknowledges that all of creation praises God. Humans are mentioned in just two verses that call on God's heavenly and earthly creation to worship Him in Psalm 148. Hillsong United sings of this in their song "So Will I" when they lyrically recognize that our praise is not unique to humankind. Join me as we consider the ramifications of our worship. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Slow down Meditate on Scripture How the first verse of the song "So Will I" comes straight from Genesis 1:1-5 How we approach the Bible the way we approach a blog article or FB post...we skim Learning something insightful requires effort Picturing creation coming into existence and pondering its vastness Christ is the one who continues to hold all of creation together - Colossians 1:16 The perfect Psalm to reflect this week's song - Psalm 148 The sun and moon and shining stars praise God by doing what they were created to do - Genesis 1:14-19 We err when we equate worship with lyrics, music, and a band Just like all of creation we worship when we do what we were created to do - Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2:15  Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com The story behind the song "So Will I" by Hillsong United - YouTube Video Spotify Link to "So Will I (100 Billion X)" by Hillsong United   This Week's Challenge Go to Genesis 1 and read the creation account. Meditate on and imagine the vastness of what the words are describing. Pay special attention to each aspect of creation to see what God states as its purpose. Hop over to Psalm 148 to see all of creation worshiping God. Consider that each part of creation worships God by doing what they were created to do. How will these truths impact your work as worship?


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    October 15, 2018 #243: "The Way" by Pat Barrett

    What we believe matters. It will impact how we think and how we live. In the song titled "The Way" by Pat Barrett, he sings of a fundamental belief that Christians hold -- that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. As we explore the area of Scripture where this doxology originated we discover this belief is important in so many ways. Join me as we meditate on the words of Christ and find comfort in the process. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Ask questions Context Section Titles Word study Consulting various translations When it says, "Jesus answered," asking, "Who did He answer and what was asked?" - John 14:6 Backing up and reading in context and using the section titles to help Jesus is not making a social statement, He is comforting His disciples - John 14:1-6 Discovering why the disciples might need comforting One of their own has left as a traitor - John 13:21-30 Jesus Himself has announced to them He is leaving - John 13:33 Peter, chief among the disciples,  is predicted to betray Jesus - John 13:38 Much less what is all about to happen A quote by David Mathis: "Jesus as 'the way' is first about the comfort and peace and assurance of his followers. These are not first fighting words, but soul-quieting, heart-feeding truth. Comfort first, not controversy." - Article at DesiringGod.org What Scripture means when it uses the word "believe" - BibleHub.com Word Study Jesus is once again lifting our hearts to look out further toward our heavenly home When we seek direction we have a solution...THE WAY   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - WorshipTogether.com The story behind the song "The Way" by Pat Barrett - YouTube Video Spotify Link to "The Way (New Horizon)" by Pat Barrett   This Week's Challenge Read John 13-14 to understand the context of Jesus’ profound I AM statement. He is the way, the truth, and the life. These words are meant as comfort to us just as they were to the original disciples. Then use this week's song to declare your trust in our beloved Savior.  


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    October 8, 2018 #242: "Oh My Soul" by Casting Crowns

    The waters of our soul are deep. The cry of the song "Oh My Soul" by Casting Crowns reminds us that we can bare our souls to the One who created us inside and out. If we spend some time tending to our souls, we can experience the faithfulness of God in the deepest places of our being. The Psalms include many soul-baring moments, and Psalm 42 contains an example of this. It won't be hard to relate to the psalmist this week! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consult outside resources (I used Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem this week) Read in several translations Repetition The story behind the writing of the song "Oh My Soul" - YouTube Video The cry of the heart of David that inspired us to consider all of Psalm 42 - Psalm 42:11 My favorite lyric - "There's a place where fear has to face the God you know." What exactly is our soul? Some characteristics of a soul: Our soul can worship God - Psalm 103:1, Luke 1:46-47 Our soul can pray to God - 1 Samuel 1:15 Our soul can love God - Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30 Our soul can rejoice and delight in God - Psalm 35:9, Isaiah 61:10 Our soul can desire God's Word - Psalm 119:20, Psalm 119:167 Our soul can long and thirst for God - Psalm 42:1-2 Our soul can hope in God - Psalm 42:5 The poetic picture of longing for God from our very depths - Psalm 42:1,2 The opposite of longing for God The example of Psalm 42 when faced with deep sorrow and outside jeers Remember God's faithfulness Pour out your soul to God Giving our souls a good talking to   Additional Resources Purchase the single or album on Amazon Lyrics The Story Behind the Song "Oh My Soul" by Mark Hall with Casting Crowns - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 42 for yourself. Try the BITE of reading it in several versions. Then use the BITE of reading it several times -- repetition helps it sink in. In the midst of your sorrow, pour your soul out to God, remember His faithfulness, and declare to your own soul WHO He is.


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    October 1, 2018 #241: "Satisfied In You (Psalm 42)" by The Sing Team

    The Rolling Stones really captured the essence of culture when they sang, "I can't get no satisfaction." Our world is in a constant state of discontent. When you weigh the philosophy of this week's song by The Sing Team, "Satisfied In You (Psalm 42)," you discover that our satisfaction doesn't lie in our effort as sung by our friend Mick, but rather in God. There are unlikely discoveries in a Psalm you may know in part. Join me this week as we pore over Psalm 42. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Meditate on God's Word Repetition One word Study with a friend My overwhelming week and how I had to adjust to stay in God's Word A familiar part of Psalm 42 I have sung since a young girl - Psalm 42:1-2 The roller coaster of ups and downs of Psalm 42...and how it reflects my own feelings A.W. Tozer - “For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth.” - The Pursuit of God Longing for God in a deep way - Psalm 42:1-2 Remembering God's faithfulness as a balm to our soul - Psalm 42:4 Giving you permission to skip parts you don't understand (for now) - Psalm 42:6 Identifying with cutting and hurtful words and what they do to us - Psalm 42:3 Talking to your soul - Psalm 42:11 Three verbs - Psalm 42:11 Put Will Praise Refocusing the soul to put hope in God and choosing praise over lament My "one word"s (and the process to find your own) Thirsts - a deep longing for God Deer - an animal that will die separate from this source of life Meet - not a member of the kings court kissing the ring, but fellowshipping in the private chambers   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Mars Hill Music PDF Spotify Link to "Satisfied In You (Psalm 42)" by The Sing Team   This Week's Challenge Spend some time in Psalm 42 this week. Share it with a friend and exchange the “one word” that jumps out at you as you meditate on it. Release yourself from having to understand every part or taking on more. Allow your heart, mind, soul, and strength to meditate on God’s Word. Find comfort in this psalmist who represents another’s soul who is downcast…it’s perfectly natural…but ultimately find satisfaction in God — put your hope in Him.


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    September 24, 2018 #240: "No Matter What" by Ryan Stevenson

    No matter what, once you truly belong to Jesus, you are HIS, and if you are HIS you will remain HIS. This does not mean a perfect life, but one that is marked with evidence and imperfect progress walking in newness of life and not returning to a life of death. Ryan Stevenson sings of this question in his song "No Matter What" and it leads us to examine a letter from Paul and Timothy to the Colossians.     Let Scripture answer your many questions about whether or not you can lose your salvation. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Read the envelope Rewrite/summarize in your own words Slow down Make observations Make a list Exploring the topic of perseverance of the saints (remaining a Christian) Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology Wayne Grudem Audio Presentation Part 1 Wayne Grudem Audio Presentation Part 2 Paul and Timothy were thankful because their faith and love born out of hope of what eternity holds - Colossians 1:3-5 The confident hope mentioned here is the same as in Episode 238 The result of the gospel received is a changed life - Colossians 1:6-8 Believers still need prayer for (Colossians 1:9-12) complete knowledge of God's will spiritual wisdom and understanding strength endurance patience joy gratefulness community God rescued us and transferred us into His Kingdom - Colossians 1:13-14 Jesus is everything...first...preeminent - Colossians 1:15-20 We were once separated and now we are reconciled - Colossians 1:21-22 Our responsibility is to continue to believe, stand firmly, and not drift - Colossians 1:23 No matter what, once you truly belong to Him you are HIS, and if you are HIS you will STAY His     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Together The Story Behind the Song "No Matter What" by Ryan Stevenson - CCM Magazine This Week's Challenge Read Colossians for yourself. Read it several times. Read it with a pen in your hand rewriting phrases, making lists, and writing down observations. If you have never repented unto salvation, do that today. Our lives should continue to be marked with repentance and renewal as we get to know Him better and better each day.


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    September 17, 2018 #239: "Even Then" by Micah Tyler

    There's no free pass from suffering for Christians. I wish there were. I have dear friends who are wrestling with God during sickness, conflict, strife, and injustice. Habakkuk wrestled, too. In fact, his name means embrace like a wrestler. May we embrace God's character through faith while wrestling through our circumstances. Perhaps Micah Tyler's song "Even Then" can be a part of the soundtrack. You will be refreshed at Habakkuk's honesty as we study the entire three chapters of this prophet's contribution to God's Word. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Repetition Read in a variety of translations Listen to an epic soundtrack while reading Get your bearings through an introduction and overview - Great resource for this..."How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart Make a list Utilize an outside resource - this week I read "Hope in the Dark" by Craig Groeschel An introduction to Habakkuk - I used "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart , but found a great resource from Insight.org here Habakkuk's name means "embrace like a wrestler" Habakkuk's complaints and how similar they may be to our own complaints against God - Habakkuk 1:1-4 God's seemingly unsatisfactory answer/solution - Habakkuk 1:5-12 How to wait like Habakkuk - Habakkuk 2:1-3 Living by faith - Habakkuk 2:4 Romans 1:17 Galatians 3:11 Hebrews 10:36-38 Our limitations when we are asking God to answer the question, "Why aren't you doing something?" Habakkuk's rehearsal of God's goodness after his complaint - Habakkuk 3 Habakkuk's choice to walk in faith EVEN THEN - Habakkuk 3:16-19 Not necessarily rejoicing in our circumstances, but rejoicing in God our Savior - Habakkuk 3:18   Additional Resources Lyrics - KLove The Story Behind the Song "Even Then" by Micah Tyler - KSWP 90.9 This Week's Challenge Read Habakkuk for yourself. Write down some observations and then read it again. Perhaps you can jot down your own complaint and questions for God. He can handle it. Seek Him, and allow Him to give you His answers and the faith to wait patiently for them to be delivered in His time. And when your world seems to be falling apart, remember…EVEN THEN He is your strength and will enable you to tread on the heights.


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    September 10, 2018 #238: "Living Hope" by Phil Wickham

    Stale. Fake. Dead. Dying. Faded. Worthless. Delusional. There are all kinds of hope in this world, but believers in Christ are born again into a living hope. Phil Wickham's song "Living Hope" leads us straight to Scripture where we discover that a Living God gives us a Living Hope through a Living Savior. The original recipients of 1 Peter needed assurance of their living hope as they were suffering greatly. Let's explore it together. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Read an introduction to the entire book of the Bible you are studying Consult outside resources Make a list An introduction and outline of 1 Peter by J Vernon McGee - PDF of notes and outline Reading all the way through 1 Peter The theme of 1 Peter - the Christian hope in the time of trial J Vernon McGee teachings on 1 Peter - BlueLetterBible.com The Living God, our Living Hope, through our Living Savior - 1 Peter 1:3-5 God's call not to follow the culture - Jeremiah 10:3-5 Jeremiah's response calling God the living God - Jeremiah 10:10 Making a list of the characteristics of the manmade idols vs. God's characteristics in Jeremiah 10 Our living hope comes after being born again - John 3:5-8 Our living Savior Who bore our sins - 1 Peter 2:24 The description of our living hope - 1 Peter 1:4-5 Our proper response to the gift of our living hope - 1 Peter 1:13-16 Our conduct reflecting our living hope - 1 Peter 1:22-23 It is through Christ we believe in God - 1 Peter 1:21 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Essential Worship The Story Behind the Song "Living Hope" by Phil Wickham - Essential Worship This Week's Challenge First, if you’ve never been born again…place your faith and hope in God through Jesus, your living Savior. Then read 1 Peter. I think you’ll be surprised at the suffering it reveals…all the more need for a living hope. Read Jeremiah 10 for a snapshot of the effectiveness (rather ineffectiveness) of our false idols and the worthiness of our living God. Review the introductions to these books, interact with God’s Word as you read, and consult tried and true outside resources to shed even more light on what you’re reading.    


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    September 3, 2018 #237: "Known" by Tauren Wells

    You are not invisible. You are known. Tauren Well's song "Known" sings about it and so does David in Psalm 139. When you let the truths of this Psalm sink into your being it will change you. Join me this week as we break it all down. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Complete a word study Meditate and ponder Scripture Ask questions Make observations Share with a friend Pray and ask God to help you understand Make a list God knows us - Jeremiah 12:3, John 10:27, 1 Corinthians 13:12 Being fully known in the New Testament means "experiential knowing through direct relationship" - BibleHub.com Word Study It seems that it is possible to NOT be known by Christ in that "direct relationship" sort of way - Matthew 7:21-23 God knows everything at all times - He is omniscient - Got Questions Article We are known when we are in direction relationship with Christ which comes by faith - Romans 10:17 through repentance - Acts 3:9 and results in following - John 10:27 A poem by my friend Christina Hubbard over at Creativeandfree.com God searches us...not because He has forgotten or because there's a detail He doesn't yet know...but because He is active in His knowing of us - Psalm 139:1 How God knows us - Psalm 139:1-6 To what extent God knows us - Psalm 139:7-12 Why He knows us - Psalm 139:13-18 How David feels when He looks upon those who despise and dismiss God - Psalm 139:19-22 Ending where we began...with a God who searches us - Psalm 139:23-24     Additional Resources Lyrics - Air1 This Week's Challenge Now that you know you’re fully known…isn’t it worth your effort to get to know HIM better every day? Read Psalm 139 all the way through. Read it several times in several translations. Take it section by section and ponder the truths found there. Take out a notebook and make some lists. Let it sink in…you are known and you’re not alone.  


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    August 27, 2018 #236: "Better For It" by Riley Clemmons

    My eyes are different now that I'm older. When something is too close to my face it gets all blurry and I can't see it clearly. That's how suffering is. When we're too close to it we sometimes can't see clearly how God might be able to use it to develop our character or impact His Kingdom. Riley Clemmon's song "Better For It" reminds us that our good is on the other side of it all. Joseph had some growing up to do and his suffering not only made him "better for it," but On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Read aloud Listen to an audio version of Scripture Share with a friend Timothy Keller's book, "Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering" How you can understand Scripture differently when you read it out loud with life and enthusiasm What kind of person gives a bad report about others - Genesis 37:2 How tattling isn't just for kids, and the reasons and consequences of the practice Jacob's favoritism toward Joseph - Genesis 37:3-4 Joseph's dysfunctional family and his dysfunctional family tree The reminder that while God cares about our individual lives and our individual stories, we are a part of a bigger Kingdom story that He wants to tell to draw all men to Him   Additional Resources Lyrics - Air1 Story behind the song "Better For It" by Riley Clemmons - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Be encouraged by God’s Truth! It’s so much easier to see when you study someone else’s life, and perhaps you’re in the midst of pain so great you don’t yet have the hindsight you will have in the future. But be assured that God wants to shape you, mold you, and use you! As you endure you’ll be better for it. Read (and keep on reading) beginning in Genesis 37. Try reading out loud with life and enthusiasm with a friend!  


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    August 20, 2018 #235: "What a Friend" by Matt Maher

    Picture the best friend you've ever had. Friendship with Jesus is nothing like that. It's deeper, richer, more meaningful, and more life-giving than the best friendship you've ever had. The effects of being Christ's friend will make you a better person and more useful to the Kingdom of God than you could ever imagine. Matt Maher's song, "What a Friend," inspired me to explore what Scripture has to say about being friends with Jesus. I learned something new this week. I can't wait to share it with you! On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Use section headings to get your bearings Listen to an audio version of Scripture Use outside resources to learn new things Print out and mark up Scripture How our personal experiences sometimes fall short as a metaphor for our relationship with God Printing out Scripture double spaced with a wide right margin to give you permission to mark up the pages The condition that the word IF refers to in John 15:12-15 You don’t qualify as Christ's friend through obedience…His salvation produces a change in us Friendship with Christ is marked by great love Friendship with Christ is possible because He laid down His life Our obedience is an effect of the life-changing relationship we have with Christ We are informed friends Through this friendship we are welcomed into relationship with Father as well     Additional Resources Chords and Lyrics - Essential Worship Look at the Book videos by John Piper - John 15:12-15 Part 2, John 15:12-15 Part 3 Story behind the song "What a Friend" by Matt Maher - kwsp.org article This Week's Challenge Read in context up to our focus section in John 15:12-15. Print out this section of Scripture double spaced with a wide right margin so that you can feel more confident in marking it up and adding your observations to it. Watch the Look at the Book videos and learn more about the precious gift of friendship with have with Christ.  


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    August 13, 2018 #234: "Everything" by TobyMac

    One of my favorite names of God is El Roi -- the God who Sees. While God’s sight is perfect, it’s our spiritual eyes that need attention. We’re going to talk about seeing God in everything using TobyMac’s song “Everything” as our inspiration and Scripture as our teacher. I pray that your eyes will be opened to recognize the magnificent in the midst of the mundane. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Pray Scripture Slow Down Ask Questions Make Observations Journal Your Observations Pantheism - the definition and where we see it in our world today Omnipresence - the definition and where we see it in Scripture - Psalm 139:7-10 My prayer for all of us, that God would open our eyes - Psalm 119:17-24 How our worldview is how we view the world and the importance of a Biblical worldview How studying Scripture will change the way you think...if you're born again - 1 Corinthians 2:14, John 3:3-8 How God "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" - 1 Timothy 6:17 How "everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving" - 1 Timothy 4:4 Making observations in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 Seeing God in everything that leads to worship of HIM not His created things - making everything holy through the Word and prayer - 1 Timothy 4:5   Additional Resources Chords Lyrics Sermon by John Piper - "What God Made Is Good — And Must Be Sanctified: C.S. Lewis and St. Paul on the Use of Creation"   This Week's Challenge We went a little deeper this week. Your eyes may have glazed over a bit as we summarized pantheism and God’s omnipresence. You could study further on these topics and perhaps soak in Psalm 139 as you consider it. There’s a lot more to see in 1 Timothy 4 if you are willing to sit and ponder truths there. More than anything my prayer for you is found in Psalm 119:20 that your soul would be consumed with longing for God’s Word at all times and that you would spend time with God as you spend time in His Word. I also pray that the Spirit will open all of our spiritual eyes to see Him in everything.


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    August 6, 2018 #233: "Psalm 46" by Shane & Shane

    Trouble is inevitable, but I am strengthened by the knowledge that the Lord of Hosts is with us. Shane & Shane take Psalm 46 and help us sing it as a declaration of truth and praise in their song "Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts)." Walk with me through this Psalm this week. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Repetition Share with a friend Explore a topic Use outside resources How there are always more observations to discover in Scripture You're not wrong Don't give up First section observations - Psalm 46:1-3 Very Very present Very present help Second section observations - Psalm 46:4-7 "Holy habitation of the Most High" "She shall not be moved" "Lord of Hosts" "Selah" - Resource: video explanation of Selah from GotQuestions.org Third section observations - Psalm 46:8-11 "Be still and know that I am God" (consider checking out Episode 128 and Episode 166) "Behold the works of the Lord" (consider checking out Episode 147) I'm uncomfortable with beholding desolations Second reference to Lord of Hosts Exploring "the river" in verse 4 - Ralph Erskine Exposition on BibleStudyTool.com     Additional Resources Shane & Shane on Studying and Singing the Psalms - Logos Talk Article Lyrics This Week's Challenge Dive into Psalm 46 for yourself. Read it several times. Write down some initial observations and then challenge yourself to observe even more. Share your findings with a friend. Take the challenge to do more study on a specific topic and let me know what you discover!  


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    July 30, 2018 #232: "You Say" by Lauren Daigle

    It is so easy for me to fall into the trap of allowing what others think of me to determine my identity. There is really only ONE who has the authority to tell me who I am...and that is my Creator. Lauren Daigle's new song "You Say" inspired a sort of scavenger hunt through Scripture to discover who we really are in HIM. Let's discover what God's Word has to say about it and stand in faith and belief on what it says. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Meditate Ask Questions You say I am loved - Ephesians 2:4-5 Asking these questions... What do I learn about God? What do I learn about people? What do I learn about relating to God? Is there something I can praise or thank Him for? Is there a sin I can confess and repent from? Is there a promise or truth to believe? You say I am strong - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul learned to be content with weakness because it put the strength of Christ on full display You say I am held - Isaiah 41:9-10 Everything God says of US is directly related to HIM You say I am Yours - Isaiah 43:1-7 Placing our identity in God's strong, capable, and uplifting hands Allowing the Word of God to work in us - 1 Thessalonians 2:13   Additional Resources Story Behind the Song "You Say" by Lauren Daigle - CCM Magazine Article Lyrics Chords and Lyrics - Worship Chords This Week's Challenge We spent time in four areas of Scripture on this episode. You could choose one area or all four to spend time in this week. Ponder God’s love in Ephesians 2, Christ’s strength in 2 Corinthians 12, God’s victorious right hand holding us in Isaiah 41, or the profound truth that we belong to God in Isaiah 43. Don’t forget to read in context and take time to meditate on what you are learning. Always ask questions along the way, and it’s best to start with what you learn about God before you move into any other area.


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    July 23, 2018 #231: "Resurrection Power" by Chris Tomlin

    I've always wondered how anyone who personally experienced the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead could just turn and live their lives as always -- some actually allowing it to fuel their hate and rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. How could they witness such immense power and not be changed? Chris Tomlin's song "Resurrection Power" reminds us that believers have this power living on the inside. Paul prays for a significant gift for the Ephesians that we need from God as well. Join me in investigating this prayer. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read and keep on reading Listen to an audio version of Scripture Make a list Consult a variety of translations Complete a word study Our focus area of Scripture - Ephesians 1:15-23 Asking, "For what reason?" Paul's prayer for the Ephesians The results of the gift Paul is praying for Being "in the knowledge of Him" The Greek word for "know" - BibleHub.com Investigating what the "immeasurably great" power of God can do Exploring the characteristics of resurrection power Exploring the characteristics of identity establishing power How we benefit from the same results of this immeasurably great power - Ephesians 2:4-7   Additional Resources Story Behind the Song "Resurrection Power" by Chris Tomlin - YouTube Video Lyrics Chords and Lyrics - WorshipTogether This Week's Challenge Read or listen to the entire letter to the Ephesians. Work your way verse by verse through our focus section (verses 15-23). Make lists and write down other observations. Review a variety of translations in any area that may seem confusing. Read for yourself the summary of the Greek word “to know” using BibleHub.com. Increase your knowledge in Him through study and seek the gift Paul prayed for the Ephesians — God’s gift of wisdom and revelation that you may KNOW the immeasurable greatness of His resurrection power.


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    July 16, 2018 #230: "Overcomer" by Mandisa

    Some troubles God uses to help us grow and develop endurance. There are obstacles in our lives, however, that we need to overcome...not just endure.  Be sure that the message of Mandisa's song "Overcomer" is one that you can truly proclaim. In 1 John 5, John asks, "Who can overcome the world?"  I want to sing along with Mandisa on your behalf, "You're an OVERCOMER!" Join me as we discover how to truly be overcomers. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consult an outside resource Complete a word study The author of I John - Bible.org Article The Greek word for "world" - BibleHub.com Obstacles and temptations that incentivize us to sin and how we overcome them How we show God contempt How to be sure we are a believer in Jesus Christ to know we can claim the promise that we are overcomers Additional Resources Official Music Video for Overcomer Lyrics Story behind "Overcomer" - video featuring Mandisa Authorship of 1 John by W. Hall Harris III Word study for "world" Word study for "believe" This Week's Challenge I encourage you to dive into the context around 1 John 5:5.  I John is only 5 chapters and is full of amazing, life changing truth that will begin to change the way you think.  You could read I John in one sitting.  It's a great place to hang out in all week!


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    July 9, 2018 #229: "God So Loved" by Hillsong Worship

    Passion. Zeal. Love. Light. These are all characteristics of my Savior, Jesus Christ. This passionate, zealous, loving, Light of the World comes into our hearts to drive out the darkness -- not to condemn us, but to save us. This truth is profound and eternal -- it's worth spending some time to slowly take it all in. Follow me to the gospel of John as we consider a familiar passage in light of the context of Scripture. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consider the historical context Use section headings Refer to the introduction Slow down Gaining historical context through the reading of the introduction - BlueLetterBible.org This episode of Jesus cleansing the temple - John 2:13-22 Listening to the sounds of the scene unfolding at the temple What the money changers were up to in the temple - GotQuestions.org Article The zeal and passion of Jesus. This is who He is! Eternal live is initiated by God and founded in His love The idea that God loves the "world" would be shocking to Nicodemus Jesus begins with the end in mind...the cross - Check out Episode 103 where I unpack Moses and the serpent mentioned here Biblical faith is not intellectual ascent, it is transferring our trust out of ourselves INTO Jesus We must surrender, repent of our sin of autonomy and turn to God and place our trust into Christ How we are not better having heard the truth if we do not personally experience God   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Read John 1-3. Our song leads us straight to John 3, but the context of everything that leads up to this profound conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus should shed light on that very conversation. Use an introduction in your study Bible or online source to help ground you and give you historical context as you engage in the words of the Gospel of John. And if you have never done it…step into the light and believe “into" the Light of the World.  


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    July 2, 2018 #228: “Fix My Eyes” by Kings Kaleidoscope

    My daughter is in driver's education this week, and after riding with her a few times I can confirm...you steer where you stare. As you become a more seasoned driver you may be able to take your eyes off of the road and not immediately swerve, but you cannot stay straight without fixing your eyes on the path ahead. Scripture confirms this, and King's Kaleidoscope's song "Fix Your Eyes" helps up meditate on this truth. Let's fix our eyes this week on what Scripture has to teach us about our faith and more. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Meditate Complete a word study Read in context Use different translations How I originally wanted to put word-for-word Scripture to song and how others do it better - Music and resources at seedsfamilyworship.com God’s Word is Truth. Don’t let Christian music be a substitute for God’s Word. Using song as a form of meditation - Psalm 119:15 The Hebrew word translated "meditation" - Word Study on BibleHub Our Scripture focus areas - Hebrews 12:1-4, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Psalm 119:1-8 Meditating on Fixing my eyes Jesus as the founder and finisher of my faith The phrase in the lyrics…”the solace in your suffering is my strength”     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Spend some time in God’s Word this week. I recommend Hebrews 12, 2 Corinthians 4, and the first 8 verses of Psalm 119. They all join together as you pair it with meditation through singing “Fix My Eyes.” Allow God to unwind any faulty thinking you encounter as you give Him room to speak to your heart.


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    June 25, 2018 #227: "Dream Small" by Josh Wilson

    I was raised to dream big. It is part of our culture to want the next generation to have more than we had. So, when I heard the challenge offered by Josh Wilson in his song "Dream Small," I was inspired by the lyrics and this counter cultural idea. Join me in a chapter you may just be tempted to skim over in Nehemiah where we see the significance of individual obedience...no matter how small. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consider the historical context Remember the people in the Bible were REAL Use outside resources The historical context leading up to Nehemiah 3 using an outside resource - The Bible Timeline How I discussed the timelines of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem walls in Episode 203 Daniel as a counselor to King Cyrus who decrees the resettlement of Jerusalem fulfilling a very specific prophecy about him by Isaiah 150 years prior - Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah 45:1 The first wave of captives allowed to return to Jerusalem - Ezra 1:1-4 Ezra and Nehemiah and a little bit about their backgrounds - Ezra 7:8-10, Nehemiah 1 What I discovered about the significance of the gates that were rebuilt in Nehemiah 3 The free outside resource that I discovered by Dr. J. Vernon McGee - Online Article - "The Gospel in the Gates of Jerusalem" The audio discussion of Dr. J. Vernon McGee regarding the Gospel in the gates of Jerusalem Session 1 - beginning at minute 14:48 - Online Audio Podcast Thru the Bible Session 2 - beginning at minute 4:27 - Online Audio Podcast Thru the Bible Session 3 - beginning at minute 3:30 - Online Audio Podcast Thru the Bible The rebuilding of the gates beginning at the Sheep Gate - the gate through which the animals were brought in for sacrifice - a foreshadowing of Christ Not all will be so willing to do their part - Nehemiah 3:5 Not all are asked to do what they are comfortable doing - Nehemiah 3:8 Sometimes tending to your home and neighborhood is enough - Nehemiah 3:23, Nehemiah 3:28-30 Meshullam who rebuilt the part of the wall across from his bedroom - Nehemiah 3:30 The opposition that reared its ugly head - Nehemiah 4     Additional Resources Lyrics Chords Stories Behind the Song "Dream Small" by Josh Wilson - YouTube Video-Inspired by Jay Stories Behind the Song "Dream Small" by Josh Wilson - YouTube Video-Inspired by Suzanne Stories Behind the Song "Dream Small" by Josh Wilson - YouTube Video-Inspired by Becca This Week's Challenge Read Nehemiah in context. Stop over in chapter three where you might have normally been tempted to skim over. Pause at each gate and use the article on the “The Gospel in the Gates of Jerusalem” by Dr. McGee to inspire you to see them in new ways. Consider that the people listed in chapter three were REAL. Some accomplished more than others, but through the faithfulness of each one, the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt in 52 days. God will take the small things and multiply them into miraculous, BIG things.


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    June 18, 2018 #226: "Grace Got You" by MercyMe

    The new, fun song "Grace Got You" by MercyMe describes a person who has been taken over by grace and thus acts differently, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Isn’t that what grace does for us? It changes us and then gives us a different perspective. Let's examine the change in us together by exploring the pages of a letter from Paul to Titus. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Listen to an audio version of Scripture Repitition Reading in a variety of translations Read the envelope Utilize outside resources Consult a commentary Review section headings to get your bearings Don't overthink getting into the Word...get inspired by a song, a devotion, or a sermon and dive into the context My reasons for using the BITE of repetition To let it sink in Because sometimes my mind wanders and I need to listen multiple times just to get it all Either new things jump out at me or I find myself drawn to a specific area to study deeper How a word can mean something completely different in different eras, and the power of various translations Using an outside resource to help me "read the envelope" - "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Stuart and Fee How Paul emphasized doing good throughout this short letter Breaking down an important summary section on grace - Titus 2:11-15 The commentary by MacLaren, "Grace is a self-motived, ever-acting, communicating love which bends in tenderness over and floods with gifts those that stand far beneath itself " - BibleHub.com What this grace of God DOES Where this grace of God ORIGINATES Why this grace of God was EXTENDED Additional Resources Lyrics Chords Story Behind the Song "Grace Got You" by MercyMe - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Titus. Read it several times in a variety of translations. Ponder this grace that has been freely bestowed upon us and the changing power it holds over us. Consider your life…have you been able to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions? Are you living a self-controlled, upright, and godly life in this present age? Well, that is the kind of life our Savior, Jesus Christ came to offer and empowers us to live.  


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    June 11, 2018 #225: "Counting Every Blessing" by Rend Collective

    If I asked the Apostle Paul to examine my life, I'm pretty sure he would see blessings that I'm not seeing. I'm fairly convinced we're on the lookout for two different things. That has been confirmed for me this week as I've meandered through his letters looking for the blessings he counts. This quest was inspired by Rend Collective's song, "Counting Every Blessing." Join me on a journey through the epistles...it may just change the way you look at things, too. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Write out Scripture Slowing down Make observations Make a list Compare and contrast Consider the opposite That I actually use the BITEs I recommend for the week The sections of Scripture I wrote out in my notebook Romans 1:8-10 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Ephesians 1:3-10 Philippians 1:3-6 Colossians 1:3-8 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 How Paul is either thankful for people, God, or God working in people -- not material things The gifts from God evident in people faith grace spiritual gifts fellowship comfort in our troubles Truths about our identity in Christ chosen holy blameless adopted redeemed lavished with grace How Paul often has the perspective of Christ's return fixed squarely in his sights The question, "Am I looking for the fingerprints of Jesus in others?" Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords Story Behind the Song "Counting Every Blessing" by Rend Collective - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Try this quest for yourself! Open each of Paul’s epistles and locate his opening words of gratitude as he counts every blessing. Try the BITE of writing out Scripture. Compare and contrast what you see in these opening paragraphs to Paul’s letters. Perhaps even get pulled into the context and keep on reading!  


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    June 4, 2018 #224: "joy." by For King and Country

    Major decisions in life often determine our final destination. But what about our daily choices, like the attitudes we choose? For King and Country challenges us all in their song "joy." to choose joy in the midst of trials. Of course, they didn't come up with that on their own...it's all over Scripture. Let's consider what God's Word has to say on the matter on a journey from James to the Psalms to Romans. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Complete a word study Read in context Write out Scripture Make observations Write out Scripture in your own words Observe/Reflect/Respond Choosing joy with perspective - James 1:2-4 Word study on "consider" - hégeomai - BibleHub.com Finding joy in God's presence 1 Chronicles 16:27 Psalm 16:11 Psalm 28:7 (We soak in this Psalm on Episode 223) Galatians 5:22 Discovering joy through following God's ways Psalm 1:1-3 Psalm 19:8 Psalm 119:1-3 Reflecting on the relationship trials detailed in Romans 14 and 15 Focusing in on Romans 15:13 Observing God's role in joy and my role in joy Discovering that our joy is not only for ourselves Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords Story Behind the Song "joy." by For King and Country - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Romans 14 and 15. Contemplate the big relationship picture you see there. Write out Romans 15:13 in your own hand. Make some observations. Reflect on what you’ve learned and incorporate that into writing the verse out in your own words. Respond to what God is teaching you through your study…either in prayer, repentance, or action. And then as you encounter trials lead out with joy!


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    May 28, 2018 #223: "I Lift My Hands" by Chris Tomlin

    Does it matter the position of our body if our heart is sincere in worship? I believe we can acknowledge things about God through our physical posture. Chris Tomlin's song "I Lift My Hands" leads us to consider one position mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In fact, David often speaks of body position in the Psalms. Join me in Psalm 28 to see what we can discover about posture, worship, prayer, and God. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consider a topic Make observations Refer to an outside resource (this week...a sermon) The "rest of the story" behind the song - A sermon by Louie Giglio, "I Lift My Hands" The progression of engaging God's Word Skip over the parts you don't understand Dig a little deeper into the meaning/definitions/stories - a Cliff's Notes of sorts Read the original texts for yourself Study and engage with the text for it to sink in Will the sermon or devotional that really "touches your heart" be less meaningful because you've never taken the time to read the reference in context? Yes. How the lifting of hands means different things in different contexts David's cry to the Lord with his hands raised - Psalm 28:1-2 The importance of actually calling on God (not just thinking about calling on God) How prayer should not be our last resort David's heart is postured in worship and his body reflects that as well - Psalm 28:1-2 God is higher...as seen in the story of the Tower of Babel - Genesis 11:1-9 Additional Resources Lyrics Chords Story Behind the Song "I Lift My Hands" by Chris Tomlin - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 28. Make some observations as you read — I always find it helpful to write them down. Don’t just consider the two verses we focused in on — read the whole Psalm. Consider exploring other postures of worship mentioned in God’s Word and read about them in context — making observations along the way.


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    May 21, 2018 #222: "He Still Does" by Hawk Nelson

    We all want the miracle, but are we willing to do our part? Are we willing to seek Him? Are we willing to walk in God's ways? Hawk Nelson reminds us that God is in the miracle business through their song "He Still Does." King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah experienced an amazing miracle one morning in the desert. The Lord was with King Jehoshaphat -- join me as we explore why. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Refer to an outline Consult a map Write out Scripture Make a list Share with a friend How the big picture of Chronicles points to the central role of worship and the importance of the temple and ultimately to Jesus Making a list of the characteristics of Jehoshaphat - 2 Chronicles 17:3-6 Focusing in on why the "Lord was with" Jehoshaphat That the benefits and miracles of God are a result of our seeking and following Him The promise made to Jehoshaphat's father, Asa - 2 Chronicles 15:2 How the Lord isn't going to follow our agenda, but He will be with us when we are with Him An outline of Jehoshaphat's reign The miracle defeat in 2 Chronicles 20 The map I consulted as I studied this account - Bible-History.com The three verbs used to describe how Jehoshaphat responded to an impending attack Resolved Inquired Proclaimed How the answer from God came through a Levite - 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 How the worship team led the way toward God's miracle - 2 Chronicles 20:22-25   Additional Resources Lyrics Chords Story Behind the Song "He Still Does" by Hawk Nelson - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read 2 Chronicles 17-20 for yourself! Consider the story of King Jehoshaphat…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ponder the characteristics of God and His ability (and desire) to perform miracles in the lives of those who seek Him. Resolve to inquire of the Lord. Involve others in the process — we were never meant to walk all of this alone. Set your heart to delight in the ways of the Lord. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The Lord will be with you.  


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    May 14, 2018 #221: "Witness" by Jordan Feliz

    God's goodness is unfathomable. David tries to explain it in Psalm 36 with really big metaphors as a witness to the awe he feels when considering God. Similarly, Jordan Feliz' song "Witness" calls us to testify to the virtues of our Father in heaven as well. Let's use the song to inspire us to read the Psalm and see what we learn, shall we? On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Complete a word study Consider the opposite Consult an outside resource Listen to the audio version Make a list Pray Refer to an outline Tips on reading the Psalms Using the outside resources of "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" and "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" both by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart How Yahweh is the center of everything and our lives are to be predicated on our covenant relationship with Him Seek God's face before you seek His hand Read the Psalms the way they were written...as songs...musical poetry Contemporary Christian music CANNOT be the only truth you absorb...you must read the Bible for yourself The divisions in Psalm 36 The qualities of the wicked in Psalm 36:1-4 The qualities of our God in Psalm 36:5-9 The direct benefits of serving our amazing God - Psalm 36:7-9   Additional Resources Lyrics Chords Story Behind the Song of "Witness" by Jordan Feliz - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Dive into Psalm 36 — read it; listen to it; meditate on it. Store up in your heart these amazing characteristics of God. Consider the benefits to the upright in heart. Be warned by the folly of the sinner refusing to surrender to the limitless love, faithfulness, righteousness, justice, and care of the Father. Don’t stop at my few words and pondering — pray and ask God for fresh vision and revelation as you interact with His Word for yourself.


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    May 7, 2018 #220: "Who You Say I Am" by Hillsong Worship

    In our culture these days the idea of "freedom" is often seen as the license to do whatever you want. However, Scripture teaches us that we are bound like slaves to whatever we obey...whether sin or righteousness. Hillsong Worship reminds us that we are free when the Son sets us free in their song "Who You Say I Am." ian dooley Jesus has some strong words to say about the matter in John 8. Why don't you join me there? On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Slow down Repetition Read larger chunks of Scripture Listen to the audio version Reference several translations Complete a word study How taking a couple of weeks to prepare this lesson reminded me of the value of slowing down Listening to an audio version of Scripture using the YouVersion Bible App The importance of studying using several translations How John tells the story from a perspective after Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit How Christ's true identity becomes a hotly contested topic of conversation - John 7:40-44 Focus verses for the podcast - John 8:30-38 "As verse 31 stresses, appearance of belief must be matched by perseverance in following Jesus and His teaching.” - The Apologetics Study Bible The word study for the word translated "hold," or "remain faithful," or "continue in," or "abide" in John 8:31 - BibleHub.com How absurd it is to believe that we are not slaves What we were saved from - Titus 3:3-7 Becoming slaves to righteousness - Romans 6:16-18   Additional Resources Lyrics Acoustic performance and story behind the song "Who You Say I Am" - WorshipTogether Video This Week's Challenge Read John chapter 8. Read it several times in several translations. Put on the audio version a few times this week as well. Focus in on the section we talked about today or journey through the Old Testament seeking out details of the Feast of Tabernacles and compare what you learn to the experiences of Jesus detailed in John 7-10. Be sure to slow down — repetition will help you do that.


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    April 30, 2018 #219: "Just Say Jesus" by 7eventh Time Down

    This week's song,  "Just Say Jesus" by 7eventh Time Down, is a wonderful anthem to all of us who have come to the end of our rope. The name of Jesus is a powerful representation of God and holds power in our lives. On today's episode we see proof of this power in Scripture. I hope you will release this same power in your life through the name of Jesus. On this week's episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Follow the cross reference Use section headings to get your bearings An interview with the band from Creation West 2014 A mini-lesson from the lives of Peter and John found in Acts 3 The time when Peter and John are arrested in Acts 4 A name as authority Peter's cross-reference to Psalm 118 The enemy's tactic of limiting the use of the name of Jesus Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life - John 14:6  Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge If you have never called on the name of Jesus for salvation...there is no better time like the present...it's that simple. Then head over to Acts and start reading. Our main focus has been in chapter 3 and 4. Read them for yourselves, finish out chapter 4...it's a good one. I have also referenced Psalm 118. It is a lovely complement to what you will see in Acts.


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    April 23, 2018 #218: "When We Pray" by Tauren Wells

    What happens when God's people unite in prayer? Well, I suppose it depends. It depends on their motives, on whether they are surrendered to God's will, and ultimately on what they are asking for. Tauren Well's song, "When We Pray," inspired me to sit in Acts 3 and 4 this week to see what the early church prayed for. I love the quote at the beginning of the music video, "If God answered the prayers you have been praying, would it change anyone else's world but your own?" On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Observation Make a list Follow the cross reference Consult an outside resource Where my love of the book of Acts is rooted What led up to the prayer meeting - Acts 3 and 4 (see Episode 38) Our focus area - Acts 4:23-31 Using characteristics and names of God discovered in Scripture to launch into your own powerful prayers with others - Acts 4:24 Making the connection between Scripture and historical events and current experiences Following the cross reference to Psalm 2 How the early church looked around at current events and connected it to Scripture - Acts 4:27-28 Unpacking the request of this group of believers - Acts 4:29-30 Consulting an outside resource - What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Christenson The answer God gave to their prayer     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Read Acts 3 and 4 for yourself. Don’t miss the context as you examine the unified prayer of these believers. Ponder what they did NOT ask for as much as you ponder what they did. Grab a small group of believers and pray! Write down your observations and follow the cross reference to Psalm 2 — there is more to observe there, too!


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    April 16, 2018 #217: "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me

    For all of us there are songs that resonate to the depths of our being. "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe was one of those songs for me. I'm thrilled that it's back to the top of the charts and reaching a whole new generation of listeners. I'm also thrilled that it has inspired me to delve into Scripture to see what it was like for others to have face-to-face encounters with God. Join me as we skip through the entirety of Scripture to "imagine" what it will be like for us to meet our God and Savior face-to-face. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore a topic Meditation Consider the metanarrative (God's grand story of the Bible) "When the Bible is broken up into little bits and chunks — theological, devotional, spiritual, moral or worldview bits and chunks — then these bits can be nicely fitted into the reigning story of our own culture with all its idols!” - Albert Wolters "Act One" of Scripture where we see mankind CREATED to walk in face-to-face relationship with God "Act Two" of Scripture where we see man banished from the garden and tension that needs to be resolved "Act Three" of Scripture we see God's plan to crush sin as he sets up a people and a system to point to his grand plan for all people Moses' face-to-face relationship with God - Exodus 33:7-11 Moses' face-to-face chat with Jesus - Matthew 17:1-3 "Act Four" of Scripture where we see Jesus take the stage...God in human form "Act Five" of Scripture where we find ourselves -- the era of witnesses who are called to make disciples until the final act "Act Six" of Scripture where we await the final work of judgement and renewal How John responded when seeing the "Living One" face-to-face - Revelation 1:9-18 Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Explore Scripture on your own! Perhaps you can think of another area of Scripture you would like to explore on this topic of seeing God face-to-face — there are more, I only scratched the surface. Read about how God initially created a face-to-face relationship with Adam and Eve in Genesis 1-3. Explore Moses and his relationship with God in all of Exodus, but specifically review what we discussed today in Exodus 33. Zip over to Revelation chapter 1 to see what type of response we may have to seeing the “Living One” face-to-face. It doesn’t hurt to sit around and imagine spurred on by God’s Word!


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    April 9, 2018 #216: "Shelter" by Carrollton

    God is our shelter -- a safe place -- an intimate, secret hiding place. He longs for us to dwell with Him there, not just use Him as a lean-to when the rain storm catches us off guard. Carrollton's song "Shelter" sings of God's faithfulness and guides us to discover some amazing characteristics of our Most High God. Will you join me in abiding as a shelter dweller? Learn more as we dive into Psalm 91. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Make a list Meditation Complete a word study Exploring the characteristics, names, and titles of God in Psalm 91:1-2 The story behind the song "Shelter" by Carrollton - New Release Today Article Replacing a "what's in it for me" mentality with a "what can I learn about God" mentality Discovering eight characteristics of God in two verses and then meditating on them Making it a part of the rhythm of your life to meditate on the Father Exploring the Hebrew word for "shelter" - BibleHub.com How not all believers are shelter dwellers Warning: Don't misuse this Scripture the way Satan did in Matthew 4 How God sort of buried the lead in Psalm 91:14-16   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Spend some time in Psalm 91 this week. Consider what you learn about God. Make a list of God’s characteristics. Reflect on what it looks like to be a shelter dweller. Try your hand at a word study. Keep reading throughout the entire Psalm and be encouraged!  


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    April 2, 2018 #215: "The Lion and the Lamb" by Big Daddy Weave

    As a child, my grandfather used to talk with me about Jesus coming back on His cloud. While it seemed so magical as a child, as I grew in my faith I realized it wasn't a fairy tale, it was a promise. Big Daddy Weave's song, "The Lion and the Lamb" speaks of Jesus coming on the clouds, too. While there is a lot of mystery around the return of Christ, the Bible does reveal SOME things. Let's explore them together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Study a topic Remember the people in the Bible were real Read in context Record your observations Make a list The verses where Jesus is referred to as the Lion and the Lamb - Revelation 5:5-6 How this topic was personal because it reminded me of discussions with my grandfather The story of Jesus leaving earth on a cloud - Acts 1:1-11 Observing what happened in Acts 1 and considering the probable reactions of the apostles Remembering that Jesus said he would be coming on the clouds back in Matthew 24 Making a list of all that Jesus predicts in Matthew 24 Meredith's bucket list Paul's words of encouragement to believers as it relates to Jesus coming back on the clouds - 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 Keep reading in 1 Thessalonians to get an idea of what we are to do with that information - 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 Don’t be surprised. Be ready. Wake up! Be sober…vigilant…have the presence of mind to not be taken for surprise. Jesus is coming again on His cloud!     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Follow the topic of Jesus returning on a cloud. Read Acts 1, Matthew 24, Revelation 1, and 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5. Don’t rush through it. Make some observations, write out some lists, get lost in the context, and enjoy your time in God’s Word contemplating your Savior catching you up on His cloud to be with Him forever.


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    March 26, 2018 #214: "Come To The Table" by Sidewalk Prophets

    There is a table that all Christians come to -- the Communion Table. Jesus instituted this practice of breaking the bread and taking the cup as He reclined at a table. Sidewalk Prophets' song "Come to the Table" calls us to "take our place by the Savior now." I encourage you to do just that as we explore the Lord's Supper. Let's spend some time in thoughtful consideration of all that the Lord's Supper really means. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Follow the cross references Journal Study with a friend The account of Jesus reclining at the table at the Last Supper - Luke 22:7-13 Following the cross reference to Exodus 12 God's lasting ordinance - Exodus 12:24-28 What we are to do in remembrance of Christ - Luke 22:14-20 Where we get the word "communion" in Scripture - 1 Corinthians 10:16 (KJV) How "communion" means "union with" Writing down the details and my own emotional response to Christ's sacrifice Allowing the input from others to compliment my own study "The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them." - St. Augustine Allowing the Lord's Supper to become too routine   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords Devotional based on "Come To The Table" by Sidewalk Prophets - YouTube Video Sermon Jam Remix based on "Come To The Table" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read in Luke 22 of the Last Supper. Learn more about the Passover meal by following the cross reference to Exodus 12. Keep reading in Luke to see the details of the sacrifice of our Savior and then journal your thoughts about the broken body and poured out blood for you. Then, the next time you come to the table let your thoughts bring you to a deeper place of remembrance as you carry out this ceremony until Christ returns. Do this in remembrance of Him.


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    March 19, 2018 #213: "All My Hope" by Crowder

    Exaggerated claims abound these days. You can't turn on the news for a few minutes without hearing overstatements on all sides...and don't get me started about "teenager-speak." Crowder in his song, "All My Hope," asks us to sing along with quite a claim...the claim that ALL our hope is in Jesus. This week we explore whether or not we place ALL our hope in Jesus. We also consider just what kind of hope we've been given. You will be encouraged and challenged as we consider our living hope and where it asks us to fix our eyes. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Consider the opposite Read in context Observation Ask Questions Complete a word study Pray Pondering what we put our hope in other than Jesus Discovering our hope is living in 1 Peter 1:3 How we tend to jump straight to application without developing our ability to observe and interpret Scripture properly first The word study for "hope" - BibleHub.com An uncomfortable perspective - 1 Peter 1:6-7 The joy that comes from our living hope - 1 Peter 1:8-9 The perspective of the prophets who could see the salvation that was ultimately for US - 1 Peter 1:10-12 Another song that warns of putting our hope (faith) in the wrong things and reminds us to hope (place our expectation) in the Lord - Psalm 146     Additional Resources Download the single or album Lyrics and chords for "All My Hope" by Crowder - Worship Together Story behind the song "All My Hope" by Crowder - FreeCCM Article and Video This Week's Challenge Spend some time in 1 Peter chapter 1 this week. Better yet, read the entire letter from Peter — it’s only 5 chapters! Then go back and ponder our living hope by first considering the opposite. Really dive into all of the details of this larger chunk of Scripture and note anything new that jumps out at you.


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    March 12, 2018 #212: "I'm Not Ashamed" by Abigail Duhon

    I discovered the difference between being "shamed" and being "ashamed" through my study this week. Abigail Duhon's song, "I'm Not Ashamed," leads us to Romans 1 and Paul's famous declaration,  "I am not ashamed of the gospel." Exploring and meditating on this Scripture will really change the way you think...if you let it. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Meditating on God's Word Read in context Slow down Write down your observations Complete a word study Pondering what leads to feelings of being ashamed Considering details of the gospel learned from Romans 1:1-7 To whom Paul is obligated as revealed in Romans 1:8-15 The response of others to the gospel - 1 Corinthians 1:22-23 How Jesus responded to shame - Hebrews 12:1-3 How we will endure shame, considering it's insignificant compared to the power of salvation The assignment to keep reading in Romans 1 to see Paul's exposition of sin How a discussion of common sins may make us feel uncomfortable How we should be more ashamed of sin than of the gospel Additional Resources Download the single Lyrics for "I'm Not Ashamed" by Abigail Duhon - Air1 Radio Story behind the song "I'm Not Ashamed" by Abigail Duhon - Hallels Article This Week's Challenge Read Romans chapter 1 in context. Slow down and make some observations as you work your way through the verses. If a word jumps out at you, spend some time meditating on it. Consider what makes you more ashamed, the gospel or your sin?    


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    March 5, 2018 #211: "In Awe" by Hollyn

    It is difficult to worship God in an appropriate and authentic way when you think you are just like Him. Hollyn's song, "In Awe," leads us all over God's Word to discover truth. It is here we begin to see God clearer, and thus put ourselves "in our place" so-to-speak. The Psalms teach us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." I want wisdom, don't you? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Use a commentary or outside resource None Like Him by Jen Wilkin Hebrews Commentary by Warren Weirsbe Follow the cross-references God's way of respect for God and others - Hebrews 12:14 God is self-sufficient - Acts 17:24-25 We don't worship God in awe because we believe the age-old lie that we can be just like Him The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom - Psalm 111:10 The contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion - Hebrews 12:18-24 Exploring Mount Sinai - Exodus 19 and 20 Exploring Mount Zion - Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 Once we grasp the difference between the old and new covenants, what is our response? - Hebrews 12:25 A picture of those who "refused him who is speaking" - Jeremiah 5:20-25 God's AWEsomeness should lead us to repentance Additional Resources Download the single or entire album Lyrics and chords for "In Awe" by Hollyn - Ultimate Guitar Story behind the song "In Awe" by Hollyn - Facebook Post This Week's Challenge Read Hebrews 12:18-29. Then discover Mount Sinai in Exodus 19 and 20. Take a peek at Mount Zion in Psalm 2 and 110. Go back to Hebrews 12:25 and let it launch you to Jeremiah 5 where we see what it looks like to "refuse him who is speaking.” And then back to Exodus 20 where we see the first step on that path to wisdom…that path that we set our foot on by fearing God…the path that leads next to repentance. It’s all right there in Scripture and simply and beautifully portrayed in our song this week.


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    February 26, 2018 #210: "He Will" by Ellie Holcomb

    The waiting. When it's laced with anticipation and excitement, it can add to the experience. When it's laced with sorrow and weariness, it can bring us low. There are so many promises of God in Scripture that have been fulfilled, are being fulfilled, and will be fulfilled. Ellie Holcomb's song, "He Will" leads us to a prophesy in Isaiah that Christ has fulfilled, is fulfilling, and will fulfill. photo credit:ORNELLA BINNI Let's join our voices to the lyrics of our song and "praise Him through our sadness until the promise is fulfilled." On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read the section headings Follow the cross references Make a list The story behind the song of "He Will" by Ellie Holcomb - New Release Today Article Reading Isaiah 61:1-3 and then following the cross reference to Luke 4:14-21 Making a list of all that Jesus said he would do Discovering what WE will do in Isaiah 61:4-6 How we are part of God's restoration plan Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords Story behind the song "He Will" by Ellie Holcomb - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Read Isaiah 61 on your own or with a friend! Spend some time looking closely at it. Make a list of what Jesus says “He will” do. Then make a list of what we will do as a “planting of the Lord.” If you’re really adventurous this week, follow some of the cross references to see where else they take you in Scripture.


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    February 19, 2018 #209: "Broken Prayers" by Riley Clemmons

    Have you ever been afraid to pray because you aren't sure you are doing it "right"? Riley Clemmons, in her song "Broken Prayers," reminds us that God is not afraid of how we are feeling. We can be real with Him in the midst of the messy. The psalmist in Psalm 44 gives us an example of crying out to God from a desperately broken place. Let's explore it together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context (the entire Psalm 44) Repetition Observation How the order of the Psalm is significant Starting with remembering what God has done and WHO He is Charles Spurgeon writes, "When fathers are tongue tied religiously with their offspring, need they wonder if their children's hearts remain sin tied?" Acknowledging the victories belong to God (even if he uses us in the process) Putting our trust in Him, not in the tools He gives us to fight the battle Diving into the messy feelings of rejection, retreat, feeling devoured, being scattered, feeling worthless Enduring the tragic even while following hard after God   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords Story behind the song "Broken Prayers" by Riley Clemmons - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge I hope you’re inspired to bring your own broken prayers to the feet of the Father. Read all of Psalm 44. Read it over and over again. Make your own observations as you allow God to minister to you in the midst of your own brokenness. Rest assured, God wants all we have — no holding back — but don’t fail to boast in Him all day long and praise His name forever — even in the midst of your broken prayers.


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    February 12, 2018 #208: "Rescuer (Good News)" by Rend Collective

    Have you ever struggled to see the big picture of the Bible? How do the individual stories, songs, poems, prophecies, and more, fit together -- and what are we to make of it? Rend Collective's song, "Rescuer (Good News)," reminds me of God's grand rescue plan. Join me for a quick fly over that may help you make connections with God's grand story in the future. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Use outside resources (like the amazing Jesus Storybook Bible) Meta-narrative - the overarching story that gives context, meaning, and purpose to all of life "The Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing. It's about God and what He has done." - The Jesus Storybook Bible How Genesis 1-3 could be the beginning and the end, but God whispers a promise to rescue Genesis 6-9 and Noah's experience with God placing his war bow in the sky pointing to heaven A reminder of how we try to reach up to heaven like in the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 The tagline of The Jesus Storybook Bible - Every story whispers His name God's creation of his own family through Abraham and Sarah (we get to join in later!) An example of trusting the Father in Genesis 22 with an eye on the Son who would climb a mountain like Isaac to be sacrificed Hopping and skipping through the rest of the Old Testament and New Testament revealing the grand story of God Ending with Revelation where it's not the end...it's the beginning of our forever life after being rescued   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge While I don’t have a specific place to go in Scripture this week, wherever you choose to go, take a step back and seek how it relates and connects to the meta-narrative…the grand story of God’s Word. And don’t forget...this Word of God is not about you at all…it’s about Him and His rescue plan for all who will believe in Him.


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    February 5, 2018 #207: "Warrior" by Hannah Kerr

    "Get dressed," I tell my youngest. "Where are your shoes? Do you have your jacket?" And so the conversation goes. I have a feeling God is asking me, "Where are your shoes? I told you to put on the WHOLE armor! Your helmet! Don't forget your helmet!" This week's song "Warrior" by Hannah Kerr reminds us that we are in a battle and need to be dressed appropriately. Let's take a moment and review what God's Word says about our battle gear. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read the envelope Use outside resources (like your study Bible) Read and keep on reading - this is a letter...read it all the way through Context Read in various translations Battles are raging around us and we need to stand up ready for war - Ephesians 6:13 My new friend Colleen Searcy and her Bible teaching - check out her website and resources The repetition of heavenly places in the book of Ephesians - Got Questions Article The main text that discusses the armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-20 Taking each part of the armor and discussing it piece by piece   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Read all of Ephesians. Pay close attention to the themes of worship, relationships, and home life. Consider how being armed for spiritual warfare in these areas may affect the outcome. Put Hannah Kerr’s song, “Warrior," on repeat and let it remind you of all you’ve learned.


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    January 29, 2018 #206: "Shepherd of My Soul" by Kutless

    Jesus my Lord is my Shepherd, and He is a good shepherd. I have the benefit of coming in on the scene after the Good Shepherd has come the first time and will come again. Kutless' new song, "Shepherd of My Soul" sings of our Shepherd and sent me to Scripture to explore what it says about shepherds. We are going on a journey this week to compare and contrast shepherds in Scripture. Join me? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Compare and contrast Make a list Follow the cross reference Define words How our song points to Psalm 23, but we're going somewhere else this week. Check out Episode 14 for an episode that discusses Psalm 23. Some background information on Ezekiel The charges God levels against the shepherds of His flock - Ezekiel 34:1-6 God's instructions to the flock were the opposite of what occurred - Leviticus 25:43 The fact that the shepherds of Israel were the kings the people requested after rejecting God as King The result and God's response to the failed shepherds - Ezekiel 34:7-9 What God does when He take over - Ezekiel 34:11-16 The Messianic prophesy that Christ fulfills in John 10 - Ezekiel 34:23-24 Jesus' figure of speech He shares with the Pharisees - John 10:1-6 Jesus fulfills all the failed shepherds did not - John 10:7-10 Jesus is the Good Shepherd - John 10:11-18   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Read John 10 and really consider all that Jesus is saying about being the Good Shepherd. Then head over to Ezekiel 34 and clearly see the charges against the previous shepherds of Israel. Finally, land in Psalm 23 and use this week’s song to reinforce the beautiful truths we find there where we declare and confess…The Lord is my Shepherd.


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    January 22, 2018 #205: "Where Were You" by Ghost Ship

    Sometimes I feel like a toddler -- you know, the ones with questions for days. Their questions are unending partly because they wired for curiosity and partly because they grow in their understanding of the world through questions. Job has his own book in the Old Testament and it is filled with questions about the reason behind his suffering. God does eventually respond to Job, but rather than detailed answers He replies with a few questions of His own. In their song, "Where Were You," the band Ghost Ship captures the heart of Job's question and a great sampling of God's counter response. Have you experienced suffering? Are you in the midst of it right now? Let's learn a little from Job this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read-and-keep-on-reading Context Listen to an audio version of Scripture Refer to an overview of the book - I used Bible Project's Overview Video this week Read in a variety of translations Make a list of Job's questions When I recognized that God was putting Scripture in music already - check out Episode 1 or Episode 122 The Bible Project's overview of the Book of Job - YouTube Video Exploring Job's questions by making a list (I only jot down a few...you can find MANY more) Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire? - Job 3:11 Have I any help in me, when resource is driven from me? Job 6:13 Has not man a hard service on earth, and are not his days like the days of a hired hand? Job 7:1 Why have you made me your mark? Job 7:20 Have you eyes of flesh? Do you see as man sees? Job 10:4 Conclusions Suffering can cause us to be irrational Suffering reveals where we place our trust Suffering digs up the root of our purpose Suffering often leads us to blame No. God does not see as man sees     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Review the overview of Job by the Bible Project. Read or listen to Job all the way through. Consider the nature of Job's suffering and what it brings out in him. Use the song to remind you of God's response in Scripture.


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    January 15, 2018 #204: "Control (Somehow You Want Me)" by Tenth Avenue North

    Everyone has a story. Part of the beauty of God's Word is when we can identify with the people God chose to weave into His BIG story of redemption. Tenth Avenue North's song "Control (Somehow You Want Me)" leads us to explore Jacob in the book of Genesis. There is a distinct time and place where Jacob gives control to God. Let's consider this place of surrender together. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Study a character Remember the characters in the Bible were real Read-and-keep-on-reading Context Make a list Meeting Jacob for the first time - Genesis 25:23-28 When Jacob declares God as his own - Genesis 28:20-22 What Jacob left behind when he went on the run The desperate place Jacob is in when God chooses to reveal Himself in a personal way Living a life of surrender after the first time you surrender Listing some of Jacob's obsessions and intention - compare them to your own God calling Jacob back to the place where he first surrendered - Genesis 35:1-15 Understanding that God wants you...just you...ditch the bag of idols you carry with you and give Him control   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords The story behind the song "Control (Somehow You Want Me)" by Tenth Avenue North This Week's Challenge Read Genesis 25 through Genesis 35. Read and keep on reading. Consider big ideas keeping them in context of the big story. Remember that Jacob was real. Most of all, make God YOUR God. Give Him control of your life. He has a really great plan for it.  


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    January 8, 2018 #203: "Get Down" by Finding Favour

    I find it fascinating which prayers and songs God chose to include in His Word. Of all the prayers lifted in all of time it's a good idea for us to explore the ones included in Scripture. Finding Favour's song, "Get Down," is our inspiration to learn more about one of Daniel's prayers. I can't wait for you to see how much you learn about God in this prayer. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read-and-keep-on-reading Ask questions Use outside resources Learning what we can from the prayers recorded in the Bible Asking good questions, like: What details were important to include in this prayer? What revelation about God is included? Have they mentioned his conduct, character, or concerns? What was requested in the prayer? What is the historical and physical context of the prayer? Why was God being sought in that moment? What was the result of the prayer? How did the result change the course of God's kingdom, bring God glory, or affect the person praying? What can I learn about the person lifting the prayer? Is there anything I want to emulate or avoid? An amazing outside resource for Bible timelines - www.BibleHistory.com The timeline of the two characters we are exploring...Daniel and Nehemiah 605 BC Daniel is captured and taken to Babylon 586 BC Jerusalem is completely destroyed and the rest of God's people are taken captive 537 BC King Cyrus decrees resettlement of Jerusalem 520 BC The people resume rebuilding of the temple 444 BC Nehemiah rebuilds the walls Background of how Daniel ended up in the kings service - Daniel 1:3-5 and Daniel 1:18-21 How Daniel intervenes in a crisis - Daniel 2:14-19 Daniel's prayer - Daniel 2:20-23 Applying our questions to Daniel's prayer A quick introduction of Nehemiah (CHALLENGE: Explore his prayer on your own!)     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Choose Daniel or Nehemiah (or both) to explore this week to read-and-keep-on-reading. Then make a list of questions you want to explore the answers to as you zero in on Daniel's, or Nehemiah's, prayer.


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    January 1, 2018 #202: "All Glory Be To Christ" by Kings Kaleidoscope

    Happy New Year! Each new year brings with it an opportunity to set new goals and consider what your focus will be before life gets in the way. Kings Kaleidoscope has a song set to the tune of the traditional new year’s song Auld Lang Syne. Their song “All Glory Be To Christ” reminds us ultimately what each new year is about…Jesus. The song leads us to Psalm 127 where we are reminded that we are nothing without the Lord. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Ask questions Make observations The Rapid Bible Read Through that I do every year with my friend, Keith Ferrin - RBRT2018 The Psalms of Ascent - Got Questions Article Focusing more on the Architect than the house plans - Psalm 127:1 The role of a watchman - Psalm 127:1 Keeping in context the warning in verse 2 - Psalms 127:2 Not separating the "in vain" section from the "family" section of Psalm 127 Our duty to smooth and prepare our arrows (children) to be shot into the battle - Psalm 127:4 How I don't want to do anything this year in vain...with my family, ministry, or career     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 127 for yourself. While you do, make sure you don't take each verse out of context...it is one song, after all. Ask questions, make observations, and fix your eyes on the Lord. Pray and ask Him to be the architect of your life this year. Determine in your heart to bring Him glory.


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    December 25, 2017 #201: "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" by Meredith Andrews

    We can see what a heart filled with expectation looks like when we observe children's faces on Christmas morning. May our hearts burst with childlike levels of anticipation for the return of Christ. "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus," as sung by Meredith Andrews, reminds us that while the Advent season may have come to a close for 2017, we still eagerly await Christ's return. We can learn quite a bit from two characters included in the story of Christ's birth and dedication to the Lord in Luke 2. Will you join me there? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Observe Reflect Respond How this hymn was originally written by Charles Wesley in 1744 The double nature of Advent as reflected in our song The story of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2:22-38 The historical context of why Joseph and Mary would come to the temple for this particular sacrifice - Ligonier Ministries Article on The Consolation of Israel Expecting Jesus Living a life devoted to God How Simeon and Anna represent both men and women How followers of Christ cannot keep the news to themselves The fact that while we are few, we are not alone -- we should surround ourselves with others who are expecting Jesus, too     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Once again pick up the Christmas story. Read Luke 1 and 2. Follow the BITE pattern of observe/reflect/respond like we've done on this episode. When you meet Simeon and Anna, learn from their expectation and their devotion. Ask the Father to plant a seed of expectation in your heart that will only grow all the days you follow Him.


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    December 18, 2017 #200: "How Many Kings" by downhere

    I have been keeping Jesus small. I have found myself saying things like, "He started as a baby." Fortunately for me, I allowed Scripture to reshape my thinking this week. Inspired by downhere's song, "How Many Kings," I considered what sort of king Jesus is to emphasize the tremendous sacrifice it was for Him to come to earth as a human (much less a baby). But He did NOT "start" as a baby. Join me in Colossians 1 to put the magnifying glass on just a handful of characteristics of King Jesus. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Make a list Repetition Considering a familiar story from a new perspective Jesus was an "unlikely hero"...or was He? Jesus is anything but small - Colossians 1:15-20 Everything in our list was true of the baby lying in a manger Jesus was God Jesus holds the highest rank Jesus created His kingdom Before there was anything...King Jesus was Jesus is not an uninterested, disconnected King Jesus surpasses all others...He is illustrious, renowned, celebrated, and supreme So what is our response? Bring gifts that acknowledge WHO He is - Matthew 2:1-11     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords Story behind the song "How Many Kings" by downhere - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge I hope you've been reading the Christmas story over and over this season. If you haven't pulled it out lately, read it again and consider all that Jesus was (even as a baby). Consider this Mighty King that came to earth for you and me. Read Colossians 1:15-20 again and make your own list as a review. Did you catch the BITE of repetition along with the BITE of making a list? Let the truth of God's Word sink in.


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    December 11, 2017 #199: "I Will Find a Way" by Jason Gray

    What if Jesus had come to earth in another way? He is God after all. He didn't HAVE to plan to come as a baby. Have you ever considered why? Jason Gray's song grapples with this idea in his song "I Will Find a Way" based on a short story, "An Advent Monologue," by Walter Wangerin Jr. Join me on a journey to Isaiah 43 where we hear the loving voice of our Father. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Reading aloud "Ragman: And Other Cries of Faith" by Walter Wangerin, Jr. A review of the song and the story it's based on God's "tone of voice" and how we interpret it The phrase in the song that leads us to Isaiah 43 All the ways God comforts us with his love in Isaiah 43 How we in turn burden and weary Him - Isaiah 43:22-24 The thieves, collectors, and looters displayed in the story, song, and Scripture - 2 Peter 2:17-19 How God handles our transgressions - Isaiah 43:25 John's description of Emmanuel...God with us - John 1:9-14     Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords   This Week's Challenge Read Isaiah 43. If you’re up for it, read Isaiah 42-45 for even greater context. Read it out loud picturing the voice of a Father who is seeking to make a way. To consider a vivid description of the destructive nature of false teachers, head over to 2 Peter 2. Why do we sit in bondage to this when we have the true light of the world who came for us?  


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    December 4, 2017 #198: "When Hope Came Down" by Kari Jobe

    There is such a sense of expectancy in the Christmas season. We hope our gifts for others are "just right," we hope everyone gets along at our various gatherings, we hope to make lasting and meaningful memories, and sometimes we hope for that perfect gift. Before Jesus came the first time, all of creation hoped for God to send the One that would rescue the world. Kari Jobe's song, "When Hope Came Down," calls us to examine Christ who "came down" to do the will of the Father. You and I are included in Father God's plan. This week we see the express purpose of Hope coming down. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Repetition Reading in a variety of translations Listening to an audio version of Scripture Reading aloud Sharing with friends Asking questions The account of the angels lifting up their voices  - Luke 2:1-21 The desperate plea for God to "rend the heavens and come down" - Isaiah 64:1 Jesus declaring that he "came down from heaven" - John 6:38 Jesus getting to the heart of the motives of the people - John 6:25-27 Matthew Henry's commentary's comment that the people weren't seeking good doctrine, but full bellies Jesus' challenge to us to focus on the eternal not the temporal - John 6:27 The people's limited understanding of the purpose of manna from heaven - John 6:25-31 Jesus defining the foreshadowing of manna from heaven - John 6:32-33 Discovering the purpose of the true Bread of Heaven - John 6:32-40 Application questions: What does God want me to think/understand? What does God want me to believe? What does God want me to desire? What does God want me to do?   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords Advent Resources Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting by Kris Camealy The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions by Lisa Welchel This Week's Challenge Spend some time in John 6 where we see an exchange between Jesus and a crowd seeking after Him. Jesus declares that He "came down from heaven" for a purpose. Read all about it for yourself and then ask yourself the application questions: What does God want me to think/understand? What does God want me to believe? What does God want me to desire? What does God want me to do? 


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    November 27, 2017 #197: "Come Thou Fount" by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family

    There's a problem in our hearts that is not a new problem. We have hearts that are prone to wander from God. Hillary Scott & The Scott Family sing of this very thing in their rendition of the famous hymn, "Come Thou Fount." These lyrics will take us on a wonderful journey through Scripture this week. Perhaps you'll find a place to sit and stay for awhile with the Source of all our fountains. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Journaling How all of our fountains are in Him - Psalm 87:7 Allowing God to tune our hearts like a master musician Understanding the significance of the Ebenezer stone - 1 Samuel 4-7 The time "when completeness comes" - 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 Wandering hearts are not a new phenomenon - Deuteronomy 31:16 We can be sealed for "Thy courts above" - Ephesians 1:13-14 Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords "Come Thou Fount" lyrics - Chris Rice on Google Play Behind the hymn "Come Thou Fount" - Hymnary.org article This Week's Challenge Choose a phrase that resonates with you from our hymn and spend some time in Scripture this week. Perhaps you could take your time through the story found in 1 Samuel chapters 4-7. It may just inspire you to pull out your own Ebenezer stone and add a symbol of remembrance to your walk with God. Perhaps you need to surrender to the call of the gospel -- to believe and receive the seal of the Holy Spirit on your life. Pray and ask God to guide you this week, but don't miss this opportunity to spend time with Him...in His Word, in prayer, in praise, and in remembrance.  


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    November 20, 2017 #196: "Nothing But the Blood" by Jars of Clay

    Sometimes my grandmother bemoans the repetition in contemporary worship songs. Once she mentioned she felt like the worship team might just "sing of your love forever"...forever. I'm pretty sure she'll excuse the repetition in the classic hymn "Nothing but the Blood" as it leads us to consider the significance of the blood shed by our Savior. No matter how hard we may "try," NOTHING but the blood of Jesus can atone for our sin. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Write out Scripture Meditate Read in context The story behind the song by Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine - BeliefNet Article Nothing can for sin atone...not of good that I have done - Isaiah 64:6, Romans 5:8 No other fount I know - Zechariah 13:1 For my pardon this I see - Ephesians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 5:17 This is all my hope and peace - Colossians 1:19-20 This is all my righteousness - Titus 3:4-6 Nothing but the blood of Jesus - Hebrews 9:19-22 Why? So that we might LIVE saved - 1 John 4:7-12   Additional Resources Purchase the album or single on Amazon Lyrics and chords Behind the hymn "Nothing but the Blood" - Hymnary.org article This Week's Challenge Listen to the song and then do the work. Use the Bible Interaction Tool Exercises I introduced to interact with God’s Word this week. Reflect on the idea that nothing but the blood could have atoned for our sins, but it was not merely so we could be saved…but rather that we would LIVE saved.  


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    November 13, 2017 #195: "How Great Thou Art" by Carrie Underwood

    Let's develop a sense of wonder, shall we? The famous hymn "How Great Thou Art" leads us to consider God with a sense of "awesome wonder." I chose Carrie Underwood's rendition to meditate on Psalm 145. David sat in awesome wonder of God and gives us a host of truths to meditate on in just one Psalm. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Slow down Meditate Follow the cross references Share with a friend The one word that jumped out at me in the hymn this week - WONDER The background of how the hymn was written - hymntime.com Thinking about the WONDER of God speaking everything into existence The WONDER of walking on a glacier Slowing down to change the pace and perspective No one can measure God’s greatness - Psalm 145:3 How amazing it is that an immeasurable, deep, unsearchable, and untraceable God has revealed Himself to us - Romans 11:33 God’s wonders are without number - Job 5:9 The limitlessness of God - Job 11:7 Turning on your “noticer” Getting to know the God in whose image you were created - Psalm 145:13-20     Additional Resources Purchase the single on Amazon Lyrics and chords Behind the song "How Great Thou Art" by Carrie Underwood - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 145. Pray Psalm 145. Slow down. Meditate on these Scriptures. Meditate on God and His amazing characteristics. Develop a sense of wonder. Consider all of creation that God spoke into existence. Recount His good deeds and miracles.  


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    November 6, 2017 #194: "You Are My Vision" by Rend Collective

    From time to time I enjoy a few (or a bag) of Oreos. While they are enjoyable, they are not nourishing. The hymns of old are full of rich nourishing doctrine that help form a strong foundation for the believer. This week I use Rend Collective's rendition of "You Are My Vision," a classic hymn versified by Eleanor Hull in 1912. Join me as I uncover the Scriptural recipe for a nourishing meal at the table of God. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Read in several translations Review the section headings The history of hymns in my own life How light on doctrine much of Christian music can be these days A verse on vision - Proverbs 29:18 Making connections with God's Word in such a way that you SEE what God is teaching Focusing on finding connections to the point where you train yourself to see them Casting aside our own plan for Christ alone - Proverbs 19:21 God's presence my light - Psalm 27:1 God as the only source of wisdom - Proverbs 2:6 "You dwell inside me, together we're one" - 1 Timothy 1:14 The Lord is our inheritance - Deuteronomy 18:2, 1 Peter 2:9 Finding the Scripture we're looking for by searching for a phrase and typing "Scripture" at the end of our search Additional Resources Purchase the single or album on Amazon Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Use the Scriptures listed above and link them to what you’re singing about in “You Are My Vision.” Perhaps you need a place to sit for awhile -- Psalm 16 is a nice place. It talks about God alone being our portion/inheritance, just like our hymn.  


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    October 30, 2017 #193: "Happy Dance" by MercyMe

    I've always wondered why it is more acceptable to express our joy over a touchdown (in my case an LSU Tiger touchdown) than in our salvation. MercyMe's new song, "Happy Dance," challenges us to let our joy out! Join me as we head over to 1 Peter to explore unspeakable joy. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consult outside resources (I used Blue Letter Bible and Matthew Henry Commentary this week) Read in several translations Consider the opposite Reading epistles all the way through before taking them apart How this letter is really to all Christians Realizing my tendency to skip over the critical introduction to the letter - 1 Peter 1:3-5 Our hope is living because Jesus is living - 1 Peter 1:3 Our inheritance is given and protected for us - 1 Peter 1:4 Our salvation is only partially revealed - 1 Peter 1:5 Giving ourselves the margin to "greatly rejoice" in our salvation - 1 Peter 1:6 Our suffering is a means to an end - 1 Peter 1:7 Our unspeakable, inexpressible, glorious joy is because we are receiving the salvation of our souls - 1 Peter 1:8-9   Additional Resources Purchase the single or album on Amazon Lyrics The Story Behind the Song "Happy Dance" by MercyMe - Vevo Video This Week's Challenge Read 1 Peter all the way through. You may choose to take is slowly like I did and really pick apart the words of a small section. Or perhaps you will see the theme of suffering throughout the letter and still see how our unspeakable joy regarding our salvation trumps all.


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    October 23, 2017 #192: "Oh My Soul" by Casting Crowns

    The waters of our soul are deep. The cry of the song "Oh My Soul" by Casting Crowns reminds us that we can bare our souls to the One who created us inside and out. If we spend some time tending to our souls, we can experience the faithfulness of God in the deepest places of our being. The Psalms include many soul-baring moments, and Psalm 42 contains and example of this. It won't be hard to relate to the psalmist this week! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read in context Consult outside resources (I used Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem this week) Read in several translations Repetition The story behind the writing of the song "Oh My Soul" - YouTube Video The cry of the heart of David that inspired us to consider all of Psalm 42 - Psalm 42:11 My favorite lyric - "There's a place where fear has to face the God you know." What exactly is our soul? Some characteristics of a soul: Our soul can worship God - Psalm 103:1, Luke 1:46-47 Our soul can pray to God - 1 Samuel 1:15 Our soul can love God - Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30 Our soul can rejoice and delight in God - Psalm 35:9, Isaiah 61:10 Our soul can desire God's Word - Psalm 119:20, Psalm 119:167 Our soul can long and thirst for God - Psalm 42:1-2 Our soul can hope in God - Psalm 42:5 The poetic picture of longing for God from our very depths - Psalm 42:1,2 The opposite of longing for God The example of Psalm 42 when faced with deep sorrow and outside jeers Remember God's faithfulness Pour out your soul to God Giving our souls a good talking to Additional Resources Purchase the single or album on Amazon Lyrics The Story Behind the Song "Oh My Soul" by Mark Hall with Casting Crowns - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 42 for yourself. Try the BITE of reading it in several versions. Then use the BITE of reading it several times -- repetition helps it sink in. In the midst of your sorrow, pour your soul out to God, remember His faithfulness, and declare to your own soul WHO He is.


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    October 16, 2017 #191: "This I Believe (The Creed)" by Hillsong Worship

    There are some nights when the moon shines so brightly I don't even have to turn on the outside lights to pick my way across my back deck. It's like a spotlight in the sky. Except that the moon doesn't have any light of it's own. The moon merely reflects the light of the sun. When we sing Hillsong Worship's song, "This I Believe (The Creed)" or recite the statements found in the Apostles' Creed we realize that it is not Scripture, but a reflection of the truth found in Scripture. I hope you'll take on the challenge of exploring the Scriptural support for the statements of the Apostles' Creed with me. In fact, I've created a useful resource to help you. On this episode I discuss: How creeds summarize Biblical truth and can give us a concise overview of foundational beliefs as followers of Christ The B.I.T.E.s - Bible Interaction Tool Exercises - for the week include: Explore a topic Read in context Clarifying the purpose of the creeds What it means to believe the statements sung in our song and found in the Apostles' Creed Refuting the idea of "blind faith" with the eyewitness accounts of the apostles - Luke 1:1-4 The Apostles’ Creed - A Teaching Series by Dr. R.C. Sproul The Apostles' Creed - Matt Chandler YouTube Video Series   Additional Resources Download the single or the entire album Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Use a special resource I created to help you get started digging intro Scripture and exploring the Scriptural support for the statements made in the Apostles' Creed. I hope you find it beneficial as you explore Scripture yourself and affirm what you believe. While you are looking up individual verses using this resource, I recommend reading them in context, one of my favorite Bible Interaction Tool Exercises.  


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    October 9, 2017 #190: "Word of Life" by Jeremy Camp

    God's Word challenges and convicts, reveals and comforts. It is an amazing privilege to have access to the words God has preserved for us. Jeremy Camp's song, "Word of Life," sings of effects God's Word can have on our lives. Our efforts this week can bring that impact to life. Join me as we follow a repeatable pattern to interact with God's Word. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read an introduction to the book you are going to study Make a list Write out Scripture Observe/Reflect/Respond Using the Blue Letter Bible Introduction to Psalm 119 - click here to access The structure of Psalm 119 and how best to read and interact with it The 8 basic words used in Psalm 119 to describe God's Word Observing Scripture by gathering information before jumping to application Reflecting on our observations to determine the meaning of the text Responding to what we've learned, either through action steps or prayer (or both) Observing, reflecting, and responding to Psalm 119:49-56 How the negative things in life like suffering, mocking, wickedness, and my own indignation are met with God’s hope, comfort, preservation, and direction A prayer response to what we learned     Additional Resources Purchase the single or album on Amazon Lyrics The Story Behind the Song "Word of Life" by Jeremy Camp - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Take a Hebrew letter section from Psalm 119 and follow the B.I.T.E. of observe/reflect/respond. Your appreciation for the Word of God will grow substantially as will your knowledge and understanding. Jot down your observations, your reflections, and your action plan and prayers in response in a notebook or journal.


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    October 2, 2017 #189: "Hard Love" by NEEDTOBREATHE

    What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. This is not merely a cliche -- it is played out in every epic story in history. NEEDTOBREATHE's song "Hard Love" reminds us that the difficult obstacles just may be a part of God's design in making us stronger. We discover a valiant warrior in 2 Samuel 23. The real challenge is when we consider what he had to go through to become a valiant warrior. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Complete a character study
    Read in context
    Make a list
    Remember the characters you read about in God's Word are REAL
    The story of Benaiah - 2 Samuel 23:20-23
    Considering the roles in his life and how it impacted him
    As the son of a valiant warrior
    As a man with feelings and sorrows
    Assuming that Benaiah was among the broken and sorrowful men when their wives and children were taken captive by the Amalekites - 1 Samuel 30:3-6
    It was in Benaiah's DNA to be a valiant warrior
    Benaiah was famous AND honored
    The road was long and hard to develop Benaiah into a valiant warrior worthy to be the bodyguard to the king
    God's hard love for us is not merely protecting, it is preparing
    What the Bible calls "exploits" we call threats, conflicts, and tragedy
    The courage to chase man-eating conflicts is developed over time
    Understanding that each trial, tragedy, and battle is ultimately strengthening us and preparing us for the position that God wants for us in His kingdom
    This Week's Challenge Read 2 Samuel 23 and then take the challenge to track down additional references to Benaiah. His story didn't end with David, that's for sure. Read the stories of "David and his men" in 1st and 2nd Samuel, recognizing that Benaiah was most likely in that group and in those battles. Make a list of Benaiah's characteristics and ponder them as you remember that he was a real man. Consider the prayers you are praying. Are you praying for protection or preparation?


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    September 25, 2017 #188: "Broken Together" by Casting Crowns

    The Bible has a lot to say about functioning in vibrant relationships. While the song by Casting Crowns, "Broken Together" speaks of a couple dealing with brokenness in marriage, we will use it to uncover some gems that will help us in ALL of our relationships. Great relationships (especially great marriages) don't "just happen." Allowing Scripture to define how we should treat one another is definitely the way to go! Along with the podcast I've created a resource to challenge you to "one up" those most important to you. Check it out! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore a topic Follow the cross reference Ask questions The "mystery" of marriage - Ephesians 5:31 The Bible interaction tool of chasing down cross references Marriage is an illustration of Christ and the church The cross reference mentioned in Ephesians 5:31 that leads us to Genesis 2:24 Asking questions like "what explains why" and reading Genesis 2:18-24 to discover the answer Finding a wife is a good thing - Proverbs 18:22 Be sure to partner with fellow Christ followers in your most intimate relationships - 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 What happens if you are married to a non-believer? Read 1 Corinthians 7 Marriage is more than a promise or a contract...it is a covenant An example of God making a covenant with Abram - Genesis 15:7-18 The history of the covenant What "made the difference" in my marriage The idea of outdoing one another in love (I've even created a free resource to explore this further...download it here) How we should treat each other - Philippians 2:1-4 Allowing God's Word to define what marriage should be...not popular media (movies, songs and more)     Additional Resources Lyrics Broken Together - Thrive Challenge by Mark Hall on YouTube Story behind the song in an interview with Mark Hall at Focus on the Family This Week's Challenge Allow God to change your mind...let His Words transform the way you think AND the way you act. To help us in this endeavor I have created a free resource this week called "One Up: Outdoing Others in Love". This resource will walk you through sections of Scripture in Philippians and Ephesians and help you identify the ONE THING you will choose to "One Up" the ones you love. It's a game of the heart...allowing God to change your mind.  


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    September 18, 2017 #187: "Poison Tree" by Ghost Ship

    Sometimes we try to dress up sin to make it acceptable, or even worse, don't address it at all. "Poison Tree" by Ghost Ship doesn't play that game. The song describes the poisonous and ugly nature of sin while contrasting it to the new life Christ offers. If we never inspect sin closely, we'll keep excusing it and miss out on the fruit our lives could bear instead. We'll stay in Galatians this week to explore the dirty rotten truths about the works of the flesh. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Study a topic The Color Method Complete a word study Make a list Read Scripture out loud Sin is dark Our culture is NOT going to call out sin - only God's Word can define it for us We should be offended by sin The warning God gave Adam and Eve - Genesis 2:15-17 Death spread to all through Adam's original sin - Romans 5:12 Focus area for the week - Galatians 5:16-26 A word study on each of the works of the flesh from BibleHub.com Sexual immorality Impurity Sensuality Idolatry Sorcery Enmities Strife Jealousy Fit of rage Contentions Dissensions Factions Envyings Drunkenness Carousing God wants to rip this deadness out and plant something new We must walk in the Spirit to bear the fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 6:7-8 We cannot tie the fruit of the Spirit to our branches...we must BEAR fruit   Additional Resources Purchase the single or album on Amazon Lyrics A Poison Tree - poem by William Blake (not related to the podcast directly, but an interesting read and though provoking) This Week's Challenge Read Galatians again this week. Underline every reference to sin in black. Make a list of the works of the flesh found in chapter 5 and complete a word study on each using BibleHub.com. Don’t forget to pray! God will want to speak to you during this process. Make it relational, not just an academic venture.


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    September 11, 2017 #186: "Spirit Of The Living God" by Meredith Andrews

    Tragedy changes the way we see things. Most often in the midst of tragedy, what is MOST important rises to the surface. Unfortunately, that clarity is often temporary when the "new normal" takes over. Meredith Andrew's song, "Spirit of the Living God," calls on the Holy Spirit to change "what we see and what we seek." My prayer is that it will be a permanent correction. We see glimpses of truths related to the Holy Spirit in Galatians. We'll sit there this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Refer to an overview of the book Study a topic Narrow the area of Scripture and read in context The Color Method Observation Complete a word study Having a Biblical worldview (and what that means) Another episode where we learn specifically about the Holy Spirit - Episode #73 Favorite overviews provided by The Bible Project - The Bible Project: Galatians on YouTube New BITE! The Color Method by Lacey Dobrient - here's the podcast I learned from Not jumping straight to application until we've taken some time to make some observations Paul's stinging questions to the Galatians about what they received from the Holy Spirit - Galatians 3:1-5 The Spirit resides in our hearts - Galatians 4:6 Our intimacy with the Father comes from the Holy Spirit - Galatians 4:6 A word study on the word "Abba" - BibleHub.com Our flesh and Spirit are at war with one another - Galatians 5:16-18 We are to keep in step with the Spirit - Galatians 5:25 The opposite of keeping in step with the Spirit - Galatians 5:26 The choice we have to sow to the flesh or to sow to the Spirit - Galatians 6:7-8 The question we're left with..."How do I walk by the Spirit?"   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Grab your Bible and dive into Galatians! Watch the overview video by The Bible Project. Pick up a blue pen or pencil and underline every reference to the Holy Spirit that you see. Write down your observations in a journal. Identify the big ideas that you see. Allow the Holy Spirit to change what you see and what you seek.


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    September 4, 2017 #185: "O Come To The Altar" by Elevation Worship

    Old Testament Scripture is full of models and examples of the things to come -- things that are ultimately fulfilled in Christ. Hebrews even says they are "a shadow" not the "realities." Elevation Worship's song "O Come To The Altar" sent me on a journey to discover the significance of two altars found in the tabernacle of old. Come with me as we peek into the old covenant to better understand the new. I have a feeling it will affect the way you "come to the altar" in the future. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Consider a topic Historical context How bit by bit God is revealing the severity of sin to me God's charge to build a tabernacle for his dwelling among the people - Exodus 25:8-9 God's current dwelling place - 1 Corinthians 3:16 A description of the brazen altar - Exodus 27:1-8 A description of the animals to be offered on the brazen altar - Leviticus 1:1-9 How the brazen altar and the sacrifices there were designed to show the Israelites that the first step for sinful man to approach a holy God was to be cleansed by the blood of an innocent creature That the brazen altar was a place of forgiveness The sacrifices made on the brazen altar were incomplete, but Jesus' sacrifice was final and complete - Hebrews 10:1-18 The altar of incense and the specific instructions for that altar - Exodus 30:37-38 Incense as a representation of prayer Like the incense, our prayers should be continuous - Luke 18:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 The altar as a picture of the intercession of Christ on our behalf - Hebrews 7:25 Coming to the altar with confidence and a sincere heart - Hebrews 10:19-23, Hebrews 4:16     Additional Resources Lyrics An article on the brazen altar - The-Tabernacle-Place.com An article on the altar of incense - The-Tabernacle-Place.com An article on the significance of the altar of incense - GotQuestions.com This Week's Challenge Read all about the tabernacle in Exodus 26-31. You can learn about the specifics of the sacrifices and the law when you continue reading in Leviticus. Then head over to Hebrews. If you start in chapter 7 and read through chapter 10 you will see the references to the old covenant and a detailed description of the new.


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    August 28, 2017 #184: "I Got Saved" by Selah

    There is a cultural gap between people grounded in the Christian faith and those who are discovering it for the first time, and the language we use contributes greatly to that gap. The lyrics of Selah's song "I Got Saved" may bring joy to the heart of some and confusion to the minds of others. Saved from what? Paul brings clarity to that question in the book of Romans. There is so much to take in this week, join me as we take a bite out of the first part of Paul's letter to the Romans. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Listen to an audio version of Scripture Read in context Ask questions A quote from Kyle Strobel, "What was I saved from? It seemed to me I was saved from God by God. I failed to see I was saved by God for God." The old hymn "There is a Fountain" by William Cowper written 1772 and the story behind that hymn Paul's introduction in his letter to the Romans - Romans 1:1-5 We are loved by God and are called to be His own holy people - Romans 1:7 How Paul is not ashamed of the gospel - Romans 1:16-17 How "common language" may not be so common to outsiders Salvation is being made right with God - Romans 1:17 Our salvation is initiated by God and accomplished through faith God has made a way for us to be made right with him - Romans 3:22-23 A discussion about what is NOT included in our being made right with God We can have peace with God - Romans 5:1 We are standing in a place of undeserved privilege when we stand saved - Romans 5:2 It is not a struggle free zone - Romans 5:3-5 Rejoicing in the new relationship we have with God because of Christ - Romans 5:6-11     Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read or listen to Romans 1-5. As you listen, be attentive to any details that will help you understand what Paul is teaching about salvation. And by all means, keep reading if you can…because then you’ll discover wonderful gems like Romans 10:9-10 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved."


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    August 21, 2017 #183: "O God Forgive Us" by For King and Country

    Today's most popular songs, like the Psalms, are often reflective of the times. For King and Country's song "O God Forgive Us" reflects the issues of our time, but includes an age-old prayer of repentance. We see a cry for deliverance from a very desperate situation in Psalm 79 this week. Perhaps you are crying out from a place of desperation, too. You can reclaim your identity, cry out for deliverance, and promise praise right along with the psalmist. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Consider the big themes of the Psalm Write out Scripture Ask questions Use an outside commentary - "Treasury of David" by Charles Spurgeon Don't let Christian music be the only way you interact with God's Word Outline of Psalm 79 - Complain, Pray, Praise The invaders of our holy temple - Psalm 79:1 Finding our identity in Him - Psalm 79:1-2 Asking questions right alongside the psalmist - Psalm 79:5 The justification for God's "forever anger" - Deuteronomy 29 The mantra of our culture - "I will be safe even though I persist in my own way." - Deuteronomy 29:19 The clarity we have in the failings of others - Psalm 79:6-7 Our desperate cry for deliverance from a place of repentance - Psalm 79:8-9 Concluding with a declaration of identity and praise - Psalm 79:13     Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 79 for yourself and really think about which invaders may have made their way into your holy temple. How have they been breaking down your walls? Consider the ways you have defied what God has asked of you. Ask for His forgiveness in true repentance, and praise His name with your mouth.


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    August 14, 2017 #182: "Psalm 91 (On Eagle's Wings)" by Shane & Shane

    I love it when God weaves memories, music, and Truth together to reveal a beautiful tapestry. I often step back and think to myself, "You've had this picture planned all along." Shane & Shane's rendition of "Psalm 91 (On Eagle's Wings)" takes me back in time. Only this time, God has something new to say through His Word in this season of my life. We may barely get past the first verse of Psalm 91 this week, but slowing down has its benefits. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Listen to an audio version Read in multiple translations Write out Scripture Ask questions Meditate on God's Word Discuss it with a friend Journal The main focus of my meditation this week - Psalm 91:1 What do you think of when you hear the word DWELL? A dwelling is an established place where we are settled and live A dwelling is NOT a guest house We do not dwell at work If I inhabit the shelter of the Most High, I will abide and bear fruit I can't bear fruit apart from establishing my residency with Him - John 15:5 Declaring trust in God OUT LOUD - Psalm 91:2     Additional Resources Lyrics I really like this more modern version of Psalm 91 in song - YouTube Video Renew Movement This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 91 this week. Perhaps you’ll get stuck in one verse like we did on this episode. Perhaps you’ll generate more questions than answers...that's okay! Try a new Bible Interaction Tool Exercise you haven’t tried before. There is so much God wants to show us…let's give Him the best foundation to do that by staying in His Word.


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    August 7, 2017 #181: "The Gospel" by Ryan Stevenson

    Have you ever said a word and all of a sudden begin to question if you are using it properly, or if it's really a word at all? Maybe that's just me, but sometimes I wonder if we really understand the gospel. This week's song, "The Gospel" by Ryan Stevenson, drew me to Scripture to explore and confirm what the good news really is. Come with me on a journey from a dusty prophet's desk, to a crowded synagogue, to a compelling apostle's letter as we consider the gospel. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Use section headings Follow cross references Slow down Refer to several translations The prophet Isaiah's recording of what the coming Messiah will offer - Isaiah 61:1-2 Jesus fulfilling the prophecy - Luke 4:14-21 When you hear the good news that Jesus is the good news, cast aside the limiting belief that you already know Him - Luke 4:22 Paul's reminder, warning, and challenge to those who have received the gospel - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 What it means to "believe in vain" A homework assignment to explore Paul's conversion - you can use Episode #133 for help The gospel has nothing to do with us, but it should display results through us   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Isaiah 61, Luke 4, and 1 Corinthians 15 for yourself! We’ve laid a wonderful head start for you to tie it all together. Slow down and use the tools at your fingertips to really soak in Scripture. Let go of the limiting belief that you know Jesus enough. Answer Paul’s challenge. Have you believed in a faint resemblance of the gospel, or the real thing? And are you holding fast and standing firm in it? Finally, this is a great week to share what you are learning with a friend. Just share truth and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.


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    July 31, 2017 #180: "Hills and Valleys" by Tauren Wells

    Sometimes we get lulled into thinking God is only in control in certain situations, but not in others. This is a lie direct from the enemy's playbook. Tauren Wells' new song "Hills and Valleys" reminds us that God is the supreme authority over all terrain in our lives. There was a group of Arameans in 1 Kings 20 that learned this same lesson the hard way. I know that God is the God of the hills and the valleys and I long to trust him in both. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Ask questions The verse that led me to 1 Kings 20 in the first place - 1 Kings 20:28 Ben Hadad launching an attack on Israel - 1 Kings 20:1 Learning more about King Ahab - 1 Kings 16:30-33 God's overall plan for this region and several "players" in it - 1 Kings 19:14-18 An overview of the story of 1 Kings 20 Ben Hadad's advisors' false report that Israel's God is a God of the hills, but not of the valleys - 1 Kings 20:23 Matthew Harmon's book entitled Asking the Right Questions: A Practical Guide to Understand and Applying the Bible Some questions to help us understand the Bible What do we learn about God? What do we learn about people? What do we learn about relating to God? What do we learn about relating to people? Some questions to help us apply the Bible What does God want me to think or understand? What does God want me to believe? What does God want me to desire? What does God want me to do?     Additional Resources Story Behind the Song "Hills and Valleys" by Tauren Wells - New Release Today Article Story Behind the Song "Hills and Valleys" by Tauren Wells - YouTube Video Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read 2 Kings 20. It wouldn’t hurt to read it in context jumping back as far as chapter 15. Read it several times. Try to repeat the details of the story to a friend. Really let it soak in…it’s really quite an epic story. Then ask and answer the questions we asked on today’s episode.


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    July 24, 2017 #179: "There Is Power" by Lincoln Brewster

    "That's the way we've always done it" has often caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. Not that tradition is bad, but understanding WHY we do things should be our motivating factor, not custom. I pray in Jesus' name, but there is a Scriptural reason why. Lincoln Brewster's song "There Is Power" reminds us of the power found in the name of Jesus. Explore God's Word with me as we discover the power truly found in Jesus' name. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Explore a topic Reading in context Use section headings Ask questions Pray! Great things are accomplished in the name of Jesus The demons were powerless because of His name - Luke 10:17 Healing occurred in the name of Jesus - Acts 3:7-18, Acts 3:16 Salvation comes through the name of Jesus - Romans 10:13 Jesus instructs us to baptize in His name - Matthew 28:19 We are justified in His name - 1 Corinthians 6:11 We are supposed to do and say everything in the name of Jesus - Colossians 3:17 Sometimes we do things because "that's the way we've always done it" We are to pray in the name of Jesus - John 14:13-14, John 16:16-24 So, we can ask for ANYTHING? How Jesus puts prayer in a distinctly God-centered context What glorifies God? Evidence of fruit-bearing in our lives - John 15:7-8 Our joy is another result of our God-centered prayers lifted in Jesus' name - John 16:23-24     Additional Resources Story Behind the Song "There Is Power" by Lincoln Brewster - YouTube Video Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read John 14-16 and consider the verses specifically speaking of asking for things in Jesus’ name…also known as praying! There is one more BITE I want to mention, and that is to PRAY! We have spoken a bit about prayer on this episode, but it would be a shame to add to our knowledge, but never put it to use. I don’t know about you, but I could benefit from praying more and more effectively.


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    July 17, 2017 #178: "Forgiven" by Crowder

    The Bible is rich with characters we can identify with. While individually we are unique, as a human race we often struggle with similar sins and responses. I am encouraged by the words of Crowder's song "Forgiven," and am even more encouraged by the truths in Scripture it leads us to examine. There is not a sin you struggle with that has not beset many before you. In spite of our ability to sin in all sorts of ways with great regularity we stand FORGIVEN. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading in context Repetition Meditation Remember the characters in the story are REAL Creating a possible backstory for the centurion who nailed Jesus to the cross - Luke 23:44-47 The art piece that inspired co-writer Edmond Martin Cash - "Forgiven" by Thomas Blackshear The story behind the song as told by both Crowder and Cash - YouTube Video How our lyrics point specifically to Peter and his denial of Christ How Peter had already received the revelation that Jesus was the Christ - Matthew 16:15-17 The warning that it is possible for us to have deep fellowship with Christ and still come to a moment in our walk where we would deny we ever even knew Him The second criminal on the cross who cried out for mercy - Luke 23:32-43 Jesus' intercession for all of us - Luke 23:34     Additional Resources Story Behind the Song "Forgiven" by Crowder - YouTube Video Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Luke 22-24. Our focus verses are right in the middle of this context, but reading in context is an important habit. Perhaps read the same account in the other three gospels as well. Consider the three men we talked about on today’s podcast; the centurion who nailed Jesus to the cross, Peter, and the criminal who cried out for mercy on the cross next to Jesus. Remember that they were real and consider characteristics seen in them that we can see in ourselves. Finally, remember you are forgiven. Not because you have done or could do anything to deserve it, but because it is freely given by Jesus himself.    


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    July 10, 2017 #177: "Shoulders" by For King & Country

    When such a short Psalm reveals so many inspiring characteristics of God, it's worth our time to spend some time in it. This week's song, "Shoulders" by For King & Country, leads us right to Psalm 121. In fact, the song begins by quoting the opening verses of Psalm 121! **This is a repost of Episode #70. I am on vacation in Alaska this week with my family, and I couldn't resist pulling this one out of the archives because of it's reference to "the mountains".** We're going to try something new this week to keep your Bible reading engaging! Let's dive in! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Reading Scripture out loud Using background music to keep it interesting Ask questions...out loud! (And then write them down in your journal) Psalm 121 The significance of the mountains to the Psalmist Comparing and contrasting the characteristics of home with the characteristics of God Reading individual verses in the parallel setting using BibleHub.com This picture...you'll have to listen to understand! The difference between the Hebrew word for sleep and slumber in Psalm 121:4 Making sense of the idea that the Lord keeps us from all harm If our enemy is relentless, God's mercy is more so   Additional Resources Lyrics Story behind the song - New Release Tuesday This Week's Challenge Pull out Psalm 121 and read it every day. Try reading it in different translations and read it out loud...maybe with some epic background music. Come on! Try it! God isn't stale...your interaction with His Word shouldn't be either! I didn't mention it in the body of the podcast today, but journal your journey! You will be amazed at what will come out when you take time to do that. The Psalmist asked a question...if nothing else, follow the Psalmist's example and ask a few questions.


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    July 3, 2017 #176: "Whole Heart" by Brandon Heath

    Go all in. It looks good on a t-shirt. It looks good on a Christ-follower, too. Unfortunately, we are really good at half-way when it comes to our devotion to the Lord. I find myself going in spurts. I'm all in for awhile and then I get distracted. I'm gung-ho in one area, but not in another. Brandon Heath's new song, "Whole Heart" reminds us to love God the way He wants us to...with our whole heart. There's a wonderful story found in 2 Chronicles about King Asa and all of Judah going "all in."  Join me? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Slow down (digest smaller chunks) Explore a topic Read in context (don't read part of the story...especially this week) The heart as inner man - a place where affections, will, and inclinations reside How God asks for our wholehearted love and devotion - Matthew 22:37 The combination life - half in and half out God as our example of wholeheartedness - Jeremiah 32:37-41 A quote from Andrew Murray - The Two Covenants King Asa's story in 2 Chronicles 14-16 and 1 Kings 15 The peace King Asa and all of Judah enjoyed because of their wholehearted devotion to God King Asa and the people entering into a covenant to seek the LORD with all their heart and with all their soul The comparison and contract of when King Asa relied on God and when he relied on other men How do we get a new heart that can maintain wholehearted devotion? God will give it to us!     Additional Resources Link to get Brandon's Whole Heart Devotional Series emailed to you! - Brandon Heath's Website Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read all about King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14-16. Read the entire story and compare and contrast the wholeheartedness and divided hearts of the king and his people and consider the results of each. Seek the Lord with your whole heart and thank Him for the good that He freely pours out with His whole heart.  


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    June 26, 2017 #175: "Broken Things" by Matthew West

    We are broken people. As children of God we are stuck in this "already, but not yet" zone where we are new creations and can still respond from our brokenness. Matthew West's song "Broken Things" brings us great encouragement that God uses damaged people. But Scripture is clear that God wants to redeem and restore us, which will require a mending of our brokenness. I'm hoping Scripture will touch the deep places in us to reveal prevailing beliefs that God wants to mend. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Using outside resources with commentary - I used the Maxwell Leadership Bible Meditation - give yourself margin to THINK about what you're reading Discuss with others - putting your thoughts into words for others is a very powerful tool A lineup of misfits proving God can use anyone - great list from my friend Keith Ferrin God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise - 1 Corinthians 1:27 While God uses broken people, He doesn't leave us broken A parable of Jesus - Laborers in the Vineyard - Matthew 20:1-16 A recap of Jonah's story found in Jonah 1-4 Taking our eyes off of God's grace leads to: Self-absorption Comparison Presumption Distortion All we have from God is a gift. Who are we to set the parameters for God to give it to others?     Additional Resources The story behind the song "Broken Things" by Matthew West - YouTube Video Lyrics - Klove Lyrics and chords for "Broken Things" by Matthew West - Ultimate Guitar This Week's Challenge Read the story of Jonah (just 4 chapters) and read the parable of the laborers in Matthew 20. Consider the characteristics of the people who felt slighted (Jonah and the laborers). Perhaps journal about any of the characteristics you may see in yourself. Pray and ask for clarity to see God’s purposes rather than your own.


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    June 19, 2017 #174: "Beloved" by Jordan Feliz

    You are divinely loved. You need to get a grip on that because we have some very important tasks ahead of us as followers of Christ. Jordan Feliz' song "Beloved" reminds us of this truth, and Scripture gives us clear responsibilities as those loved by God. We have a role to play. It's time to embrace the truth that you are beloved. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Listening to an audio version of the Bible Context Repetition Exploring the text in a variety of translations Reviewing a word study The journey of knowing more of God's Word is beautiful and never-ending There will be moments in your future where the investment of Scripture today will overflow Lacing the words of God into your everyday speech Using YouVersion to listen to 1 John in a variety of translations (I listened to the NLT, the KJV, and the ESV) The Greek word for beloved agapétos - word study on BibleHub All references to agapétos in 1 John 1 John 2:7 1 John 3:2 1 John 3:21 1 John 4:1 1 John 4:7 1 John 4:11 Why we need a song to remind us that we are beloved Where love originates - 1 John 4:19 We can come to know and to believe the love that God has for us - 1 John 4:16 We need to believe that we are loved so that we can go out and BE LOVED to a world that cannot see God, but can see God's love brought to full expression in us - 1 John 4:12     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords for "Beloved" by Jordan Feliz - Ultimate Guitar This Week's Challenge Let God’s Word (and this song) convince you…you are beloved. Read 1 John all the way through. Perhaps you will want to look up the references that all refer to the beloved — the agapétos. Try some or all of the BITEs this week. Spend some time in the latter half of 1 John 4 and consider what it means to BE LOVED and the responsibility that comes with it.


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    June 12, 2017 #173: "Find You Here" by Ellie Holcomb

    Challenges in our lives will never stop coming. Like waves that ebb and flow in strength and number, our trials and suffering come in and go out, but they never stop coming. The solution is to fix our eyes on God and the hope revealed in His Word. Ellie Holcomb's song "Find You Here" reminds us that He is in the midst of each ordeal...even the darkest ones. Peter knew he needed to prepare believers for fiery trials, too. Let's let our song lead us there this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Read and keep on reading Explore a topic Follow the cross references The problem with contemporary western thought in regard to suffering "Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering" by Timothy Keller Episode 171 and my reference to Jen Wilkin's book "None Like Him" Ellie Holcomb's blog post about the story behind the song - www.ellieholcomb.com The pattern in 1 Peter - We suffered. Christ suffered. We suffered. Christ suffered - Hebrews 4:15 Jesus made perfect through suffering - Hebrews 2:10 God is pleased with us when we endure suffering patiently - 1 Peter 2:20 The example Christ leaves for suffering - 1 Peter 2:22-25 The cross reference to Isaiah 53:2-12     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords for "Find You Here" by Ellie Holcomb - Ultimate Guitar Story behind the song "Find You Here" by Ellie Holcomb - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Read 1 Peter all the way through. It may benefit you to read it through several times in several translations. Once you have a good grasp of the letter as a whole, focus in on what the letter says specifically about suffering. You may find it easiest to go through and make a list of every reference to suffering, trials, etc. If you want to follow the example of this podcast, study the example of Christ Peter gives in chapter 2. Follow the cross-reference to Isaiah 53 it will really give you perspective. Do all of this with the corrected worldview that suffering is not to be avoided at all cost (and I think we know that practically it can’t be), but that we can endure it humbly (because we are not all knowing) and with confidence (because God has promised restoration, support and strength).


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    June 5, 2017 #172: "Do It Again" by Elevation Worship

    You get up, you put on the armor of God, you clock in, clock out, come home, and the walls against you are still towering above you. How much longer can this persist? For longer than seems reasonable or of sound-thinking. This is when you need to remember God's faithfulness and Elevation Worship's song "Do It Again" does just that. Let's join the men armed for battle following a peculiar battle plan and see what new things might jump out at us in Joshua chapter 6. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Listen to epic music while reading the epic stories of the Bible Pandora Epic Soundtracks Radio Slow down Explore maps and art - BibleHub.com on the left Picture the scene and fill in the blanks Decide right now to be biblically literate- 2 Timothy 2:15 Exegesis vs. Eisegesis - Got Questions Article God's battle plan for taking Jericho - Joshua 6:1-5 Current archaeology reveals important truths about Jericho - Answers in Genesis Article Be a good soldier and advance - Joshua 6:6-11 You've seen God move...He's proved Himself...why would you choose anything other than obedience? Victory God's way - Joshua 6:20   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords for "Do It Again" by Elevation Worship- Ultimate Guitar Story behind the song "Do It Again" by Elevation Worship- New Release Today Article Song Story: "Do It Again" by Elevation Worship - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Joshua chapter 6. I encourage you to read chapters 1 through 6 to get the full context of what was happening in this scene. Remember, every soldier who marched around the city of Jericho also experienced everything in chapters 1 through 6 leading up to Jericho. A Bible Interaction Tool Exercise that may just be a game changer for you is to listen to epic soundtracks while reading this epic story.


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    May 29, 2017 #171: "In Awe" by Hollyn

    It is difficult to worship God in an appropriate and authentic way when you think you are just like Him. Hollyn's new song, "In Awe," leads us all over God's Word to discover truth. It is here we begin to see God clearer, and thus put ourselves "in our place" so-to-speak. The Psalms teach us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." I want wisdom, don't you? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Use a commentary or outside resource None Like Him by Jen Wilkin Hebrews Commentary by Warren Weirsbe Follow the cross-references God's way of respect for God and others - Hebrews 12:14 God is self-sufficient - Acts 17:24-25 We don't worship God in awe because we believe the age-old lie that we can be just like Him The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom - Psalm 111:10 The contrast between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion - Hebrews 12:18-24 Exploring Mount Sinai - Exodus 19 and 20 Exploring Mount Zion - Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 Once we grasp the difference between the old and new covenants, what is our response? - Hebrews 12:25 A picture of those who "refused him who is speaking" - Jeremiah 5:20-25 God's AWEsomeness should lead us to repentance     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords for "In Awe" by Hollyn - Ultimate Guitar Story behind the song "In Awe" by Hollyn - Facebook Post This Week's Challenge Read Hebrews 12:18-29. Then discover Mount Sinai in Exodus 19 and 20. Take a peek at Mount Zion in Psalm 2 and 110. Go back to Hebrews 12:25 and let it launch you to Jeremiah 5 where we see what it looks like to "refuse him who is speaking.” And then back to Exodus 20 where we see the first step on that path to wisdom…that path that we set our foot on by fearing God…the path that leads next to repentance. It’s all right there in Scripture and simply and beautifully portrayed in our song this week.


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    May 22, 2017 #170: "Grace Alone" by Kings Kaleidoscope

    In South Louisiana, where I live, there is a quirky question people often ask, "Who's your mama, and can she cook a roux?" This question will ultimately lead you to a family name determining who is related to who, and whether or not you are a Cajun. (Roux, pronounced "roo", is the base for a common Cajun dish called gumbo.) This question leads to the family heritage of a person and ultimately their identity. (For the record, my mama was a Duplecion and she can cook a roux...I'm a proud Cajun!) Our song this week, "Grace Alone" as sung by Kings Kaleidoscope, leads us to Ephesians where we see our place in the family of God and clarifies what it took to get there. Just like it was nothing I did that gave me a Cajun heritage, it is not in my power to be called a child of God. Explore Ephesians with me this week! On this episode I discuss: king a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Use a commentary or outside resource Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem Bible.org Meditate The Scripture behind the song - Ephesians 1:3-10 All that God has done for us is done in love - Ephesians 1:4 His decision to adopt us did not just come up...it was decided long ago - Ephesians 1:4 God has adopted us into His family - Ephesians 1:5 Salvation by grace and grace alone Using other Scripture references in the song to dig in further - Dustin Kensrue Blog Additional Resources Lyrics and chords for "Grace Alone" by Kings Kaleidoscope - PDF This Week's Challenge Read Ephesians for yourself. Consider your adoption into the family of God -- also ponder that it was because of love and was decided before the beginning. Thank God for the high station He has raised us to through the sacrifice of His Son. Ask yourself this question: How does being saved by grace and grace alone change the way I think and relate to others?


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    May 15, 2017 #169: "Psalm 51 (Wisdom In The Secret Heart) by Shane & Shane

    I often talk about Scripture changing the way you think. Well get ready, because Shane and Shane's song, Psalm 51 (Wisdom in the Secret Heart), leads us to a Psalm of David where it is obvious he has begun to think differently about his sin. I was crying out for God's cleansing alongside David after spending a week here. Get ready to get uncomfortable...in a good way. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Don't just decide to jump into God's Word...really jump in Listen to audio version of Scripture - I use YouVersion Repetition Focus in on a smaller section of Scripture that is fairly self-contained Utilize a commentary - I used Charles Spurgeon and Wayne Grudem this week Meditate on Scripture Take advantage of small pockets of time Talk about what you're learning with a friend The story behind Psalm 51 - 2 Samuel 11-12 How the Psalm starts out with a cry for mercy - Psalm 51:1-2 How David cannot seem to escape the reality of his sin - Psalm 51:3 When we sin it is ALWAYS against God We have a sin nature we cannot escape...we were sinful from the beginning Psalm 51:4-6 Romans 5:18-19 Ephesians 2:3 God delights in truth in the inward being - Psalm 51:6 Asking God to teach us wisdom in the secret heart Enlighten the eyes of my heart - Ephesians 1:16-21 Teach me wisdom in the secret heart - Psalm 51:6 Give light to my eyes - Psalm 13:3 Once we are purified by God, we can be used by Him - Psalm 51:13-15   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords - Worship Initiative by Shane & Shane This Week's Challenge Spend some time in Psalm 51 this week. Use this song to help you meditate on it's truths. Perhaps pull out a commentary or other resource to deepen your knowledge and understanding. Share what you are learning with a friend. And if you're in a crazy season, determine in your heart that you will take the moments God gives you to ponder His Word...and then do it.  


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    May 8, 2017 #168: "Rise" by Danny Gokey

    Stories inspire us. That's why we are drawn in by good books, powerful movies, documentaries, and even ESPN specials. There is something about seeing someone else overcome the odds that gives us hope that maybe, just maybe, we could do the same. Danny Gokey's song "Rise" reminds us that our Creator has a plan for us that is higher than our broken past or sordid mistakes. "We were made to rise." Peter's life paints a pretty epic story. Let's search Scripture and discover how we can relate and what we might learn from this disciple. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Character study Remember the characters in the Bible were REAL Follow the cross references Read in context The Life of Peter Scripture References - Pastor Jacob Johnson When we meet Peter - John 1:40-42 Peter got a new name and so do we Peter gets an invite to the inner circle - Luke 8:50-56 Would you become prideful if you were in the inner circle with Christ? Peter's blunder on the mount of transfiguration - Matthew 17:1-8 Do your mistakes cause you to question your calling? Jesus gives Peter high praise - Matthew 16:13-19 Jesus gives Peter correction - Matthew 16:21-23 Peter does the unthinkable - Matthew 26:31-35 Peter returns to his old way of life when everything seems to fall apart - John 21:3-19 Taking responsibility for our careless words and making ourselves available for restoration     Additional Resources Story Behind the Song "Rise" by Danny Gokey - Free CCM Article This Week's Challenge We merely scratched the surface of considering Peter’s life. His life can teach us how we should respond and how we shouldn’t. Consider his stumbles and recovery. Ponder how Jesus included him, rebuked him, and restored him. You can go much deeper than I did. Use the list that I referenced in the podcast to launch you into Scripture. Read all about Peter in the book of Acts. Read his two letters included in the New Testament. Remember he's a real person. Get lost in the story this week.  


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    May 1, 2017 #167: "I Have This Hope" by Tenth Avenue North

    How do you built a solid foundation of hope? Make sure you base it on something real and true...like God's Word. Tenth Avenue North sings of truth in their song "I Have This Hope." Their lyrics come from Scripture, but their hope comes from God. You can deepen your hope by going deeper into God's Word. Don't stay on the surface! Spend time in Isaiah 43 this week! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Make a list Meditate on God's Word How you cannot have hope in the depth of your soul without digging a foundation of knowledge and understanding of God's Word You cannot have depth by merely listening to Christian music You cannot have depth by reading Scripture art each day or even a daily devotional The verse alluded to in the lyrics that inspired me to spend time in Isaiah 43 this week - Isaiah 43:2 The amazing characteristics of God found in Isaiah 43 The amazing things God thinks of us found in Isaiah 43 What we do that wearies the Lord What He has planned for the future   Additional Resources Story Behind the Song "I Have This Hope" by Tenth Avenue North - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Read Isaiah 43, of course! Pull out a piece of paper or a journal and make a list of the characteristics of God you see in this chapter. Make another list of what God says about us. Use the characteristics of God in your daily prayer and praise time. Allow the many profound truths in this chapter to make their way into the depths of your soul through meditation, prayer, and purposed study. And don't forget to share it with a friend! Sow the seed that has been sown in you.


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    April 24, 2017 #166: "Still" by Hillary Scott

    For some reason I was operating in the assumption that when God instructs us to "be still and know that I am God," He meant it was supposed to be quiet. However, a closer look at Psalm 46 reveals total chaos, not quiet. Hillary Scott in her song titled "Still" reminds us that God is indeed asking us to be still in the midst of our chaos. Grab a friend and head over to Psalm 46 with me this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Study with a friend Read the text out loud The top three tips when studying with others Don't overthink it Set aside your expectations Pray before you begin Allowing the perspective of others to reveal new things in Scripture The last time I used Psalm 46 - Episode 128 Being still has nothing to do with "relaxing" or even "calm" We are the holy habitation of God and Jesus is the spring of living water welling up within us to eternal life - Psalm 46:4 Seeking God first as our source of strength and refuge - Psalm 46:1 Moving from head knowledge of what Scripture says to heart transformation     Additional Resources   Lyrics and guitar chords This Week's Challenge Read Scripture with a friend (don’t forget to pray first). You could choose Psalm 46 -- hopefully I’ve given you some things to think about. Psalm 62 is another great Psalm that would go along with this song — it starts out by saying, “For God alone my soul waits in silence.” Discuss together what you’re reading. Highlight where you see characteristics of God and discuss the relevance of Scripture to your current situations. This may just become one of your favorite BITEs.


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    April 17, 2017 #165: "Your Love Is Strong" by Jon Foreman

    You know you "own" the story when you can tell it and re-tell it in your own words and not lose the meaning. This is what Jon Foreman's song "Your Love Is Strong" inspired me to do with Scripture this week. Not only that, but it sent me straight to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and a very special model for prayer. Let's not waste any time jumping right into Matthew 5-7! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Read in a variety of translations Write out Scripture in your own words The lyrics in the song, "So why do I worry? Why do I freak out?" as it relates to Matthew 6:25-34 An example using Psalm 8:1 where I rewrote it using my own words and my friend Teri rewrote it in her own words Comparing a portion of Matthew 6 in the English Standard Version and in The Message - Matthew 6:5-13 Using my own words as I wrote out the Lord's Prayer - Matthew 6:9-13   Additional Resources Lyrics and guitar chords This Week's Challenge Read the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) in four different versions. Perhaps read the sermon once a day for four days -- I recommend the English Standard Version, New Living Translation, New American Standard Bible, and The Message. Then pick a section of the sermon and write it out using your own words -- feel free to get personal and specific. You will find at the end of this challenge, you will really "own" this section of Scripture.


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    April 10, 2017 #164: "Love Broke Thru" by TobyMac

    Do you ever feel trapped by your past? Defined by your heritage? Have you ever experienced such trouble and distress that you felt out of options? The chains that bind you are not too heavy for our Rescuer. TobyMac's song, "Love Broke Thru" tells the story of his conversion. It leads us to discover a story of a man in the Old Testament who was a "hopeless fool" yet Love broke through to him, too. We all have a choice. Will we allow Love to break through to us? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Context Follow the cross references Remember the characters in the Bible were REAL A laundry list of the evil practices of Manasseh - 2 Chronicles 33:1-9 WHY Manasseh was so bent on restoring the evil practices his father was committed to eradicating The story of Manasseh's father, Hezekiah, as told in 2 Chronicles 29-32 and Isaiah 36-39 What it means to tear down the "high places" in our own lives The choice we have in our distress - 2 Chronicles 33:12 or 2 Chronicles 28:22 That despite appearances, Manasseh was not too far gone - Episode 133 While we may be shaped by our past and our heritage, we don't have to choose to be defined by it in our future     Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song and Video "Love Broke Thru" by tobyMac - Billboard Music Article This Week's Challenge Read 2 Chronicles 29-33 and also Isaiah 36-39 to get the full story of Hezekiah as well as Manasseh. Think seriously about your own high places, choose to tear them down, and allow God to restore you.


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    April 3, 2017 #163: "Unfinished" by Mandisa

    It took some raw (and sometimes ugly) probing into my heart this week, but conceding to my own imperfections may just help me pray for my "work in progress" friends. Mandisa's song "Unfinished" inspired me to seek out how Paul prayed for his friends in Philippi. I think you'll find the truths we delve into this week will encourage and challenge you. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include: Slow down Explore a variety of translations Journal your conversation with God Four verses FULL of great stuff - Philippians 1:3-6 The pattern of Paul to thank God every time his friends come to his mind My husband's pattern with practical ideas to pray for your friends Presenting our requests for our friends with joy...ALL of our friends...even the hard ones Recognizing that our friends are just as unfinished as we are Using the power of "journaling the crazy out" Glimpsing our own unfinished reflection as we hold up the mirror of Truth How perfecting takes time The truth that God brings His purposes to completion in us - Psalm 57:2 AMP   Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Unfinished" by Mandisa - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Spend some time in Philippians 1 this week. For grins you could read all of Philippians and then focus in on our 4 focus verses. As believers come to your mind thank God for them -- all of them. Then pray for them...with joy...remembering that they are unfinished. Finally, journal your thoughts this week. It may be the most effective way to "get the crazy out" and allow God to perfect you, too!


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    March 27, 2017 #162: "In Jesus' Name" by Darlene Zschech

    The Russian proverb "doveryai no proveryai" is translated "trust but verify" in English. This is how we should approach our trusted preachers, teachers, and even Christian music. However, when you can verify that the lyrics you are singing through your favorite songs come from Scripture, you can now use the song to help you meditate on truths that God has gifted us. This week we will use Darlene Zschech's version of "In Jesus' Name" to inspire us to discover Scriptural proof of the lyrics, making this song a powerful tool to help us hide God's Word in our hearts. With a special resource I've created and little extra effort, you will see tremendous results this week. On this episode I discuss: The need for a few good "devil trampling" songs in our playlists The B.I.T.E.s - Bible Interaction Tool Exercises - for the week include: Write out Scripture Read the context Repetition Meditate Breaking down the song phrase by phrase - use this resource to help God is fighting for us - Exodus 14:14 God is on our side - Psalm 108:13 He has overcome - John 16:33 We will not be shaken - Psalm 16:8 We will not be moved - Psalm 62:2 Jesus is here - Matthew 18:20 Carrying our burdens - Psalm 55:22 Covering our shame - Genesis 3:7, 21 I will live, I will not die - Psalm 118:17 and John 3:16 Resurrection power of Christ alive in me - Romans 8:11 I am free in Jesus' name - Romans 8:2   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Dig in to God's Word for yourself! Use my resource to help you. Just click here to have me send it to you for free. If you are already a subscriber to my email list, check your Monday morning email and you already have a link to this free resource. Write out these verses. Study them in context. Review them repeatedly and use the song to help you meditate on what you've learned.  


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    March 20, 2017 #161: "More Than Conquerors" by Steven Curtis Chapman

    Has life ever sent you reeling such that it causes you to question your faith in God? Paul has this beautiful list in Romans 8 that if you're in the middle of any of the scenarios he presents, you may feel that God's love has "left the building." However, Paul goes on to teach us something that Steven Curtis Chapman's song reminds us of -- not only can these scenarios never separate us from God's love, but we are more than conquerors over them. Join me as I consider Paul's conclusion in light of the context of Romans 8. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Reading in context Reading out loud A phrase we should celebrate - Romans 8:1 How Matthew Henry gives examples of what Romans 8:1 is NOT saying - Matthew Henry's Commentary on BibleGateway.com What freedom looks like - Romans 8:2 Our obligation - Romans 8:12-14 How our sufferings don't change our sonship - Romans 8:18 Paul's conclusions in light of his previous arguments - Romans 8:31-37 The list of things that seem like they would have the power to separate us from the love of Christ - Romans 8:35 The idea that we are over-overcomers (see More Than a Song Episode #4)   Additional Resources Lyrics, Chords, and Story Behind the Song "More Than Conquerors" - Essential Worship   This Week's Challenge Read Romans 8 and be sure to read it in context. Try reading it out loud to slow down, focus, and increase your comprehension. Pair your study with this week's song and meditate on the truths you've been studying.


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    March 13, 2017 #160: "Even If" by MercyMe

    We can hide behind convenient truth when things are swell, but when our feet are to the fire the deep truth tends to come out. Will we be willing to log years of faithfulness such that our circumstances no longer define God's ability or position in our minds? "Even If" by MercyMe leads us to a powerful "even if" moment in Scripture. What can we learn from three friends in a foreign land? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Reading in context Reviewing introductions to books of the Bible Consider the historical context Introduction to the Book of Daniel - BlueLetterBible.org The background of the three friends highlighted in Daniel 3 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's position in the province of Babylon - Daniel 2:49 Despite their wisdom and faithful service to the king, there were those waiting to tattle on the friends - Daniel 3:8 What the friends chose to direct their attention to We don't have to defend ourselves and we don't have to defend God The enemy's "go-to" play from his playbook as old as the Garden of Eden itself The fact that the friends had long since decided how they would respond     Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Daniel 3 in context -- meaning start in chapter 1 and read all the way through chapter 3. Consider the historical context of this story. Perhaps even complete additional study on the historical details. Ask yourself how you would respond in this situation. Decide today that you will remain faithful even if God doesn't choose to rescue you in the manner you desire.  


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    March 6, 2017 #159: "The Cure" by Unspoken

    Over and over in the Bible people seem to "get it all wrong" when it comes to God and His ways. You see offenders in both the Old Testament and the New. When will we learn that our thoughts and ways are nothing like His thoughts and ways? "The Cure," by Unspoken, points us to an important scene with Jesus. Not only is Jesus the cure for our brokenness, but He has an important message for us in Mark 2. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Meditation Journaling Repetition The ugliness of my own sin as revealed by our focus Scripture - Mark 2:13-17 Jesus' choice of dinner guests should be similar to our own - Mark 2:15 Getting serious with ourselves as to what a "disreputable sinner" looks like to us (warning: your description will be different mine) The kind of people who need a doctor - Mark 2:17 Jesus isn't afraid of our sin. He calls us. He invites us to the table. My prayer of repentance     Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Spend some time in Mark 2 this week. Read, meditate, journal, and repeat. Allow God to challenge the way you think. Repent if you need to. Be grateful for God's calling. Enter into community with others who need Jesus as much as you do.


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    February 27, 2017 #158: "What a Beautiful Name" by Hillsong Worship

    We can learn so much through the study of the names of God. Hillsong Worship's song, "What a Beautiful Name," puts the name of Jesus front and center in a moving song of worship. How much more powerful will this song be when you invest some time in discovering and contemplating a few names revealed in God's Word? Let's go to the beginning with Jesus, shall we? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Consult a commentary - I used Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology this week Follow the cross references Make a list Journal How John calls Jesus "The Word" - John 1:1-3 The doctrine of the trinity - God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God Wayne Grudem's Podcast on the trinity - Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4 The name for Jesus in John 1:1 - Logos Jesus was in the beginning - John 1:1 Jesus is God - John 1:1 Jesus was WITH God - John 1:2 God created everything through Jesus - John 1:3 We see each person of God in the beginning - Elohim - Genesis 1:1-3 Just because God is plural doesn't mean there is more than one God - Deuteronomy 6:4 A powerful passage that brings it all together - Colossians 1:15-17 "Let us" - Genesis 1:26 The Name above all names - Philippians 2:1-11 Making a list of our response to these amazing truths Trusting in the Name of Jesus - Proverbs 18:10     Additional Resources Lyrics Inside the Music "What a Beautiful Name" by Hillsong Worship - KLove YouTube Video This Week's Challenge I spent time in three key areas -- John 1, Genesis 1, and Philippians 2. You don't have to do that. You can look up other names of God and research those. Journal. Sing. Pray. Meditate on the names of God. Ask God what about each name should impact the way you view Him.


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    February 20, 2017 #157: "Live It Well" by Switchfoot

    Perspective. I sure need more of it. How about you? I need more perspective when I'm impatiently waiting in line at the grocery store, when I get cut off in traffic, or when I get a snarky email or social media comment from a friend. Moses had a unique perspective because of his intimate relationship with God and his front row seat to the demise of an entire generation of people. Switchfoot's song, "Live It Well," not only reminds us that life is short, but encourages us to live it well. Moses encourages the same in Psalm 90. Are you ready to jump in the deep end this week? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Repetition Consider the historical context Follow the cross references Utilize an outside commentary The historical context of Psalm 90 - Matthew Henry's Commentary and "The Treasury of David" by Charles Spurgeon God as our dwelling place - Psalm 90:1 Deuteronomy 33:26-27 God is from everlasting to everlasting - Psalm 90:2 Genesis 1:1 Job 15:7 Job 36:26 Psalm 93:2 Revelation 1:8 Man returns to dust - Psalm 90:3 Genesis 3:19 Numbers 26:64-65 God views time very differently - Psalm 90:4 2 Peter 3:8-9 Psalm 39:5 Our life is brief like the grass - Psalm 90:5-6 Job 14:1-2 Job 14:11-12 Isaiah 40:6-8 Moses and the people were dismayed by God's anger - Psalm 90:7 1 Kings 11:9 God sees all of our sins - Psalm 90:8 Psalm 19:12-13 Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Jeremiah 16:17 Psalm 103:12 God would see an entire generation die before granting entrance to the promised land - Psalm 90:9 Psalm 78:10-43 Our lives are so very brief - Psalm 90:10 God's wrath toward sin may be great, but He is equally to be feared - Psalm 90:11 Psalm 76:7 Hebrews 10:26-31 Because of the brevity of our lives, we should seek to make the most of them - Psalm 90:12 Psalm 39:4 Moses' plea that our lives not be brief AND bitter - Psalm 90:13 Moses' prayer that we be satisfied in God alone - Psalm 90:14 Psalm 31:7 Psalm 85:6 Jeremiah 31:14 Moses' prayer to fill the other side of the scale - Psalm 90:15 Moses' prayer that God's glory would be known to future generations - Psalm 90:16 Psalm 77:12 Psalm 92:4 Isaiah 6:3 Habakkuk 3:2 Moses' prayer that the work of our hands be established - Psalm 90:17 1 Corinthians 3:7-15     Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Live It Well" by Switchfoot - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge I challenge you to read Psalm 90 for yourself. Perhaps invest in the The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon and read his exposition. Chase down all of the cross references. Don't read this Psalm outside of the perspective of its historical context. Repetition is your friend!


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    February 13, 2017 #156: "Giants Fall" by Francesca Battistelli

    When was your last battlefield experience? I'm not talking about a military exercise, rather the battlefields of life. Francesca Battistelli's song, "Giants Fall," led me to 1 Samuel 17 to see David turning a food run into a battlefield story for the ages. I wonder if we, like David, may be more prepared than we realize. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Read in context Repetition Journal your observations Meditate Pray Story Behind the Song "Giants Fall" - New Release Today Article The story of David and Goliath - 1 Samuel 17 The fact that it wasn't David's plan to face the giant - 1 Samuel 17:17-19 David went in the strength he had - 1 Samuel 17:34-37 The taunting giant wasn't the only voice raised against David - 1 Samuel 17:28-29 David focused on the real prize - God's glory - 1 Samuel 17:45-47     Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Giants Fall" - New Release Today Article Story Behind the Song "Giants Fall" - YouTube Video Project Yesu Story of "Giants Fall" - Online Article This Week's Challenge Read all of 1 Samuel 17. Take out your journal and make a list of observations. Meditate on key observations and verses throughout the week. If you are facing your own giant, ask God to reveal how He has prepared you. Keep your eyes fixed on God's glory alone. Step up and, as Francesca Battistelli sings, "Though the stones in your hand might be small, watch the giants fall."


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    February 6, 2017 #155: "Psalm 13" by Shane & Shane

    Have you ever been in so much pain (physically or emotionally) that you practically howl? King David wrote what many theologians refer to as the "Howling Psalm" in Psalm 13. Shane & Shane has put this song of David to their own melody and titled it "Psalm 13" in their album of Psalms. This song will help us meditate on this short and powerful Psalm this week. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Write out Scripture Journal your response to Scripture Pray the words of Scripture Meditate on Scripture (use the power of song to help you) Use an outside resource or commentary Sorrow - Psalm 13:1-2 Prayer - Psalm 13:3-4 Rejoicing - Psalm 13:5-6 A wonderful resource for future study of the Psalms - Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon     Additional Resources Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Read all of Psalm 13. Then write out the Psalm two verses at a time and journal beneath that. Then pray this Psalm. Pray through your journaling. Finally, put this song on repeat this week and meditate on this Scripture. Brace yourself...it's going to be a powerful and enlightening week.


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    January 30, 2017 #154: "No Longer Slaves" by I Am They

    We all want freedom. After all, who wants to live in bondage? The irony is that freedom has been purchased for us by Christ and we accept it heartily and then immediately take steps that place ourselves in bondage again. This is what the churches in Galatia were doing in the days of Paul. This week's featured song, "No Longer Slaves" as sung by I Am They, leads us to this letter to the Galatians and Paul's stern correction. I hope we can heed the warning of Paul and walk in the freedom Christ provides. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Read and keep on reading Listen to an audio version of Scripture Read/study in context Consider big themes Our inspiration verse linked to the song - Galatians 4:7 C.S. Lewis' essay "On Reading Old Books" Introduction to the book of Galatians - BlueLetterBible.org The Galatians had turned away from the gospel message by adding to it - Galatians 1:6-7 We cannot attain salvation through ANY human effort - Galatians 3:3 Paul's introduction to the idea of bondage and slavery - Galatians 3:22 We are enslaved when we add human effort to the gospel message - Galatians 4:3 Don't trade in slavery to sin for slavery to a Christ-plus "gospel"   Additional Resources Lyrics and chords This Week's Challenge Read the book of Galatians! Experience Paul’s defense of his apostolic authority in chapters one and two. Understand that all believers enjoy complete salvation in Christ alone in chapters three and four. Explore how Paul showed how the gospel of grace leads to true freedom and godly living in chapters five and six. Read and keep on reading, and then take time to examine your own heart. Do you hold any Christ-plus philosophies? Discard them today for the true gospel message…Jesus Christ and Him crucified.   a2e8bhph


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    January 23, 2017 #153: "King Of The World" by Natalie Grant

    How often have I tried to squeeze God into the smallest of boxes? One way to take Him out in our own minds is to fixate on His greatness. Natalie Grant's song "King Of The World" points us to Scripture where we can be reminded of God's greatness. This week I hope to lead you through exercises that will keep God's position in perspective. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Make a list Read/study in context Our inspiration verse linked to the song - Psalm 47:2 Why it's so easy to verbalize our problems and so difficult to verbalize our gratitude Making a list of God's attributes from the verses of Psalm 47 He is Most High, mighty, awesome, and the King over ALL the earth He subdues nations - Psalm 47:3 He puts enemies under our feet - Psalm 47:3 He chose the promised land as a long term inheritance for those he loves - Psalm 47:4 He ascended with a mighty shout and trumpets blaring - Psalm 47:5 He reigns above the nations…sitting on His holy and magnificent throne - Psalm 47:8 Making a list from memory of God's attributes Treasuring God's words and His way of thinking over our own Making a list from the last 7 episodes God reigns from His throne and He deserves all praise - Episode #152 Vast armies are no match for God - Episode #151 God is always working - Episode #150 God sent the Light of Life through fragile people - Episode #149 God came down to give us light and guide our feet into the way of peace - Episode #148 Behold Him - Episode #147 God created everything through Christ and then sent Him to be WITH us - Episode #146   Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "King Of The World" by Natalie Grant - Christianity Today Article This Week's Challenge Head over to Psalm 47 and spend some time considering the greatness of the King of the world. Follow my lead and make a list of characteristics of God while you’re there. If you need some inspiration to make your own list I recommend starting in Job 38…God Himself lists out many of His qualities and characteristics. From your own personal study take your eyes off of application this week and continue to focus on the glory of God. Write your lists and then revisit them daily. Use the lists to inspire your holy moments with the Lord as you recount back to Him is greatness.


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    January 16, 2017 #152: "Revelation Song" by Kari Jobe

    Do we boldly approach the throne of God and forget how ASTONISHING that throne is? "Revelation Song" by Jennie Lee Riddle and famously sung by Kari Jobe leads us into the throne room of heaven. But before the song pointed to it, Ezekiel and John brought us there in Scripture. Are you ready? Are you really ready to slow down and take in the stunning throne of God? On this episode I discuss: Exegesis vs. Eisegesis vs. "Narcigesis" The story behind "Revelation Song" written by Jennie Lee Riddle - New Release Today Article Immersing ourselves in Scripture Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercises include Meditating on God's Word Slowing down Repetition Listening to an audio version Listening to epic music while studying/reading Searching the internet for artist's interpretations of the living beings mentioned in Ezekiel 1 The living beings moving around the throne like flashes of lightning - Ezekiel 1:4 Ezekiel doing his best to describe the scene with the limited exposure to the sight Ezekiel's response - Ezekiel 1:28 Similarities in John's description of the throne room of God in Revelation 4 The response of the 24 elders to lay down their crowns at the worship of God - Revelation 4:9-11 Francis Chan's message at Passion 2017 - YouTube Video Additional Resources Lyrics and chords Story Behind the Song "Revelation Song" featuring Jennie Lee Riddle and Kari Jobe - YouTube Video Story Behind the Song "Revelation Song" by Jennie Lee Riddle - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge First, read Ezekiel chapter 1. Take it in slowly. Read it several times. If you love words, journal about it. If you love art, sketch something from it. Meditate on the throne of God and His glory. Then head over to Revelation 4 and 5 and do the same. Throughout the week keep reading or listening to the text. Take your eyes off of yourself, your circumstances, your need, and fix your eyes on the Lamb that was slain. Then put on Revelation Song and join all of creation in singing praise to our God.


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    January 9, 2017 #151: "Battles" by The Afters

    Sometimes God equips us for the fight and sometimes He asks us to take our positions and watch Him fight for us. In the song "Battles" by The Afters, we see God fighting our battles and can celebrate it through music. We can learn a great deal from examining how King Jehoshaphat responded to a vast army and a seemingly impossible battle ahead. Join me in 2 Chronicles as we scrutinize the response of the king and his people to their looming battle. On this episode I discuss: Christian music is a powerful tool in our arsenal, but it does not replace time in God's Word A great example of God fighting the battle on behalf of His people - Exodus 14 - (Check out Episode 91 where I spend more time in this section of Scripture) There are times the Lord will fight for us and there are times when He has equipped us to fight Seeking wisdom from God - James 1:5 The introduction of King Jehoshaphat as a good king - 2 Chronicles 20:32 Jehoshaphat's example when faced with an impossible battle - 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 How Jehoshaphat freaks out, but begs God for guidance and other Scriptural precedence to beg - Luke 11:5-10 How Jehoshaphat included others Jehoshaphat's prayer - 2 Chronicles 20:5-12 We are powerless We don't know what to do We are looking to you for help God's response - 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 The battle is not yours but God's You will not even need to fight Take your positions then stand still and watch the Lord's victory God's words of encouragement - 2 Chronicles 20:17 He is with you Do not be afraid or discouraged Go! How belief and trust is required in allowing God to fight our battles - 2 Chronicles 20:20   Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Battles" by The Afters - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Use my favorite Bible Interaction Tool Exercise and read our story in context. Start in chapter 18 and then read through chapter 20. I think you'll find an important lesson in this context that shaped Jehoshaphat's response in chapter 20. Practice another Bible Interaction Tool Exercise - REPETITION. I read these chapters over and over again until I could naturally retell the story in my own words. So, read in context, read repeatedly, and then tell someone else about it!


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    January 2, 2017 #150: "Everywhere I Go" by Tim Timmons

    Sometimes we gain a new perspective and it changes everything. This happened for me in a Bible study in college. This happened for Tim Timmons as his daughter prayed a prayer for him and he wrote a song about it. "Everywhere I Go" leads us to Scripture where we learn some important truths that may not only change the way we pray, but the way we live. May we long to join God in what He is doing more than His blessing of our own feeble plans. On this episode I discuss: 150 episodes...WHAT?!!!...interested in the story behind this podcast? See Episode 1 or Episode 122 Behind the Song of "Everywhere I Go" by  Tim Timmons - YouTube Video The impact "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby made on my walk with Christ God is always at work around you - John 5:16-18 What God declared about Sabbath - Exodus 35:1-3 The Son only does what He sees the Father doing - John 5:19 The Father loves us and will show us what He is doing - John 5:20 The Father will show us HOW - John 5:20 Jesus has been given authority from the Father - John 5:21-23 Asking hard questions while reading Scripture, but not getting discouraged and quitting Listen...believe...have eternal life - John 5:24 We must believe the Bible - John 5:39-47 Praying, "God I know you are with me. Show me where you are at work so I can join You in it." Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Ask questions     Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords This Week's Challenge If you follow my pattern this week you will get inspired by an outside source (like a song, or a book) and it will lead you to Scripture. Once you are led there you will read it in context (in our case this week, the entire chapter of John 5). While you are reading, ask questions and jot them down. Either the Scripture will answer your questions, send you exploring other Scriptures for clarification, or there is enough you DO understand you can set aside your confusion for now and apply the parts that are clear. These are all Bible Interaction Tool Exercises (BITEs) I use on a regular basis to interact with God's Word. Incorporate them into your weekly study and you will begin to improve your interactions with God's Word.


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    December 26, 2016 #149: "Amaryllis" by Christy Nockels

    Family...it's beautiful, and frustrating, and glorious, and embarrassing, and diverse -- even Christ's family line carries some characters and heroes. Christy Nockels' song, "Amaryllis," inspired me to explore a few of the people in the lineage of Christ. How appropriate during this time of year when many of us have just made another year of memories with family and friends at Christmas. Whether your family is on the glorious side, or the tragic, or somewhere in between, we see God weave all kinds of people into the lineage of the Savior of the world...so surely there's hope for us! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Follow cross references Consider the historical context - the article I found on the "silent period" between Micah and Matthew Considering the context of your birth The Old Testament ending on a note of expectation - Micah 4:4-6 Exploring the lineage of Christ - Matthew 1:17 Learning more about "Grandpa" Perez in Genesis 38 King Hezekiah and his good start - 2 Chronicles 29:1-3 The influence Hezekiah had on his nation - 2 Chronicles 30:6-10 A portion of Hezekiah's legacy - 2 Chronicles 31:20-21 The "rest of the story" of Hezekiah's life - Isaiah 36-39 Zerubbabel and his role in the rebuilding of the altar and the temple - Ezra 3-6 Additional Resources Behind the song "Amaryllis" by Christy Nockels - New Release Today Article The Song Story of "Amaryllis" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Follow my lead and learn about Judah, Tamar, and Perez in Genesis 38. 2 Chronicles 29-31 tells much of the life of Hezekiah, but Isaiah 36-39 tells the "rest of the story." Zerubabbel, son of Shealtiel, has a major role in the rebuilding of the altar and the temple after the Babylonian deportation, and you can read all about it in chapters 3-6 of Ezra. All of these are in the lineage of Christ. It's an interesting network of people, some with sordid pasts and questionable choices, but woven into the family of Christ nonetheless. Our song says, "Through a fragile people the Light of Life will come." He continues to use fragile people in HIS story today.


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    December 19, 2016 #148: "He Has Come For Us" by Meredith Andrews

    We know that Jesus came to be WITH us, but to understand that He also came FOR us is cause for celebration! Meredith Andrews wrote a unique chorus to the traditional Christmas song, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and has entitled it, "He Has Come For Us." I was inspired by the chorus to explore Scriptures describing WHY Jesus came for us. I barely scratch the surface, but will hopefully get you started as we discover what Scripture has to say about why Jesus came for us. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Explore a topic Consult outside resources - the list I used to dig into God's Word Read in context The purpose for which Christ was born - John 18:37 Just because you are seeking truth doesn't mean you are ready to accept it when you see it Jesus came into the world as light so we would not remain in darkness - John 12:44-46 Jesus has come as light to rescue us from darkness - John 1:4-5 Seeing much of why Christ came through Zechariah's prophecy - Luke 1:68-79 "Remember Christ, our Savior, was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray" - Parable of the Lost Sheep - Luke 15:1-7 Jesus came to seek and save the lost - Luke 19:10 Jesus came to serve and give His life - Matthew 20:28 Jesus came to call sinners - Matthew 9:11-13 Additional Resources Lyrics and chords Behind the song "He Has Come For Us" - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Explore the topic of why Christ came to us by using the Scriptures I have discussed today on the podcast. I have listed them all out in the show notes above. And if you subscribe to my email list you will get my podcast recap each week in your inbox! Read the Scripture references in context by reading the entire chapter that contains them. Perhaps even journal about WHY Jesus came. There are more references! I just touched on a few. Get inspired to dig around in God's Word and find more yourself.


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    December 12, 2016 #147: "O Come All Ye Faithful" by Lauren Daigle

    Have you ever read something in Scripture you have read before, but suddenly something new jumps out at you? This happened for me this week when a word from a familiar Christmas hymn sent me on a scavenger hunt through the Christmas story. This week, I use Lauren Daigle's version of "O Come All Ye Faithful" to inspire to discover what the word "behold" calls us to pay attention to. Come, let us behold Him, Christ, the Lord. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Ask questions Explore a topic Write out Scripture by hand The definition of the word behold Beholding the virgin - Matthew 1:23 Beholding the wise men - Matthew 2:1-2 Beholding the star - Matthew 2:9 Beholding that nothing is impossible with God - Luke 1:36-37 Beholding Mary's humility - Luke 1:38 Beholding Mary's faith - Luke 1:44-45 Beholding Jesus! - Luke 1:31-33 Beholding the begotten of the Father - John 1:14 KJV     Additional Resources Behold Album Trailer - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Ask the question, "What am I to behold in the Christmas story?" Go through Matthew 1 & 2 and Luke 1 & 2 and jot down references that include the word behold. Then go back and write out the verses by hand, taking time to really consider the truths you are to behold. I recommend reading in the English Standard Version as other translations may use different words in place of behold and the exercise will not be as effective.


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    December 5, 2016 #146: "God With Us" by We Are Messengers

    "What's in a name?" Shakespeare's Juliet certainly thought that a name was an artificial and meaningless convention. However, we see significance in Scripture when it comes to names -- especially the names of God. We Are Messengers, in their song "God With Us," point us to the name "Emmanuel" spoken of in the Old Testament, but revealed in the Christmas story in Matthew 1. "Emmanuel" is "God with us." Join me this week as we explore the significance of this name...God with us. On this episode I discuss: The significance of names in the Bible Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Meditating on Scripture Consulting a commentary or external resource Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy introducing His name - God with us - Matthew 1:18-24 Original prophecy - Isaiah 7:14 How it cost God much to be "God With Us" - John 3:16 How much Jesus gave up to be "God With Us" - John 1:1-3 The humility Christ showed to be "God With Us" - Philippians 2:6-8 Jesus - fully God and fully man - John 1:14 Insight gleaned from the chapter on The Person of Christ in Wayne Grudem's book "Systematic Theology" God is STILL with us Christ took on flesh and is our example "God with us" should be an encouragement to us     Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords Story behind the song "God With Us" by We Are Messengers - YouTube Video Wayne Grudem Podcast on The Person of Christ - Session 1, Session 2, Session 3 This Week's Challenge Read Matthew 1 and 2 this week and reflect on the significance of the name given to Jesus from birth, Immanuel - God with us. Explore further understanding of the person of Christ by reading more in a systematic theology book or listening to the podcast I reference in Additional Resources in the shownotes. Consider what it means to us today to have the mind of Christ by reading and meditating on Philippians 2.


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    November 28, 2016 #145: "Join The Angels" by Matthew West

    Christmastime is here! I love this season! I love the music, I love the traditions, I love the decorations, I love the food, and I love taking extra time examining the reason we celebrate this Holy Day. This week I am excited to use Matthew West's new song, "Join the Angels," to inspire us to pore over the Christmas story. The angels had a pretty important role in the story of Christ coming to earth as a human. Let's delve into exactly what they had to say together! On this episode I discuss: Drawing near to God by staying in Scripture Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Explore a topic The role, message, and response of angels in the Christmas story - Luke 1-2 Gabriel's message to Zechariah - Luke 1:11-17 Zechariah's response - Luke 1:18-20 The idea that we have some of the same privileges as angels Gabriel's message to Mary - Luke 1:26-33 Mary's response - Luke 1:34-38 The difference between Zechariah's question to Gabriel and Mary's question to Gabriel The angel's message to the shepherds - Luke 2:8-14 Our response to the angels...will we join the angels?   Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords This Week's Challenge Read Luke 1 and 2 and ponder the experiences of Mary, Zechariah, and the shepherds with angels. Think about the angelic messages and what they mean to us today.  And then let's "join the angels" this Christmas season, sharing the good news of the gospel, glorifying God in the highest, and delivering messages of peace on earth.


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    November 21, 2016 #144: "Joy" by Jonny Diaz

    Everyone expresses joy a little differently, but in my house everyone of the female variety tends to express it by singing at the top of their lungs! Jonny Diaz' song "Joy" is the perfect song to belt it out and get inspired to read through (and pray through) a song in Scripture! Let's get energized and try something new as we head over to Psalm 47! On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Write out Scripture Pray Scripture My inspiration to choose Psalm 47 found in the first verse! - Psalm 47:1 Not being afraid to offer up exuberant praise to God The first time God is referenced as Most High in Genesis 14:19-20 Chasing the trail to Hebrews 5:10 where Jesus is described as a high priest after the order of Melchizedek A warning to not treat God too casually, but to revere Him Recognizing God's pattern of conquering even the fiercest of obstacles Celebrating our heritage in Christ because God CHOSE us and ADOPTED us - Ephesians 1:4-5 Considering joy welling up and spilling over in God - Psalm 47:5 The importance of paying attention to repetition in Scripture - Psalm 47:6-7 How God has not abdicated His throne to the evil one - Psalm 47:8 Gathering together as God's people under His shields (plural) of protection - Psalm 47:9     Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords This Week's Challenge Try the Bible Interaction Tool Exercises introduced on this week's podcast! Choose Psalm 47 or another one of your favorite Psalms. Write out each verse on one side of a note card and compose a prayer using the content or ideas from the verse on the other. Then review the note cards each day. Ponder and perhaps even journal your thoughts of what Scripture is saying. Feel free to use other B.I.T.E.s like cross-references or word studies, too!


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    November 14, 2016 #143: "One True God" by Steven Curtis Chapman

    If you knew that the next prayer you prayed aloud over a loved would be one of your last, would you pray for blessings and safety? Or would you fill your prayer with substance? Not for God's benefit, but for the benefit of the loved one listening to your prayer on their behalf? Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "One True God" points directly at God, and so does the prayer of Jesus in John 17. Join me as we spend some time in this prayer...one of Christ's last prayers while in a suit of flesh here on earth. On this episode I discuss: The story behind the song "One True God" by Steven Curtis Chapman - YouTube Video Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Use section headings Ask questions Complete a word study Journal My questions Who prayed? Who was with Him? Where were they? What events led up to this prayer? What happens immediately after this prayer? My case for why I think they had a venue change before this prayer - see Episode 123 Reading all the way through the prayer before picking it apart The fact that this prayer was a "close to the end" prayer and that the hour was already on the calendar - John 17:1 The Greek word for "glorify" - BibleHub.com Word Study God's transfer of authority to Christ - John 17:2 The definition of eternal life The principle that teaches us that we glorify God when we complete the work He gives us...what that work entails may surprise you Jesus longed for the glory He and His Father shared before the beginning of time     Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords This Week's Challenge Read John 17 all the way through. Pull out a notebook or journal and write down some questions and then seek out the answers to record the context. I picked apart 5 verses. Follow my example to continue studying this prayer of Jesus. Don't miss the shift in verse 9 when He starts praying for His disciples, and then makes it clear that He's praying for us, too! Don't miss the desperate plea for unity like Jesus and His Father share -- they not only share perfect unity, but they are ONE.


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    November 7, 2016 #142: "Home" by Chris Tomlin

    What do you think about when you think of home? For some it conjures up happy memories, warm feelings, and/or thoughts of family...for others, not so much. Some of you live in a state or town where your heart considers "home" and others are "far from home." As Christians we know we are not yet "home" in the eternal sense. Chris Tomlin's song "Home" speaks of our heavenly home and it leads us to an area of Scripture that can both encourage us and challenge us as we continue to walk out our lives here on earth. Let's talk about heaven today and explore Scripture together. On this episode I discuss: Being able to defend what we believe through thoughtful and accurate discussions Ludicrous statements in our world today about heaven Heaven is God's throne - Isaiah 66:1 Jesus teaches that God is in heaven - Matthew 6:9 Peter describes Jesus in heaven sitting next to God - 1 Peter 3:22 Jesus was taken to heaven and will return from heaven - Acts 1:11 Jesus declares that heaven is a place and He intends for us to join Him there - John 14:2-3 Heaven is our home - 2 Corinthians 5:8 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Read the text in different translations Complete a word study The context of 2 Corinthians 4 tells us that Paul and his companions were suffering from various trials and troubles Paul's response to fix his eyes on the hope of his future home in heaven and describe some of what will happen to us there - 2 Corinthians 4:18 The new bodies we will receive after this life - 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 The Greek word for "guarantee" - it literally means a down-payment or earnest money - BibleHub.com Word Study Our confidence about what will happen in the future because of the Holy Spirit's guarantee Pleasing God The coming judgment Our ambition to persuade others Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords Story Behind the Song "Home" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read 2 Corinthians 4 and 5. Review the Scriptures I discussed today about heaven (I'll include them in the shown notes found at michellenezat.com/142). Be encouraged by our song and the Scripture that we have a future home in heaven with God and His Son Jesus Christ.


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    October 31, 2016 #141: "Chain Breaker" by Zach Williams

    I wish I would take God at His Word. You know, REALLY take Him at His Word. When Jesus stood in the synagogue and unfurled the scroll and read about Himself out of Isaiah 61, He declared, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." The audience present didn't get it then and I don't think we FULLY understand it now. Zach William's song "Chain Breaker" does a great job of reminding us...and inspiring us to find it for ourselves in Scripture. Follow me to the time of Isaiah the prophet to learn more about Jesus...words spoken 700 years before Christ walked the earth. On this episode I discuss: The characteristics of Jesus found in our song and Scripture - Isaiah 61:1-3 Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah - Luke 4:16-21 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Listen to an audio version of Scripture (I use YouVersion) Repetition Read in context Consult a commentary Make a list How Jesus was fitted for the work Through the Spirit Some characteristics of the Spirit - Isaiah 11:1-2 How Jesus was ordained to do the work The work Jesus was given to accomplish To preach Bringing good news to the poor - James 2:5 To heal To deliver We are delivered and Christ's enemies are captured - Colossians 2:15 To comfort To plant God takes pride in our growing - Isaiah 60:21 Bonus: Consider Episode 139 and the garment Bartemaeus threw off and the garments God mentions putting on us in Isaiah 61     Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords Story Behind the Song "Chain Breaker" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Luke 4:16-21 and then follow the cross-reference to Isaiah 61. Read in context. Read it multiple times in a couple of versions. Check out Matthew Henry's commentary -- I found it free online at BibleGateway.com. Learn these characteristics of Christ that you may call on them in your daily life.


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    October 24, 2016 #140: "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz - Take 2

    I really, really, really don't want my faith to be academic -- I want it to be real and applied and life changing. The wonderful things God has given me to share with all of you have been just that for me -- life changing. However, there is a time when what you have learned must be put to the test. That happened for me this week. In preparation for each week's episode I spend several hours reading Scripture and putting into practice the Bible Interaction Tool Exercises I share with you. After I have completed this "research" phase, it takes approximately two hours of writing for me to prayerfully put all of my thoughts together in an orderly fashion. Finally, it takes another two hours to record the podcast, create the show notes and freebies, create the memory verse resources, upload to the appropriate servers, and prepare my weekly email that I send out to my subscribers. All of it is a joy. I have had listeners pray that it never becomes a chore. I am here to testify that God has answered that prayer. It is a joy each week -- a crazy-fun adventure to think that God chooses to use little ol' me to reveal truth and inspire others. I have best friends and writing friends that I reach out to on a weekly basis for encouragement and prayer. I reached out to them this week suggesting that I was a little over-burdened and had not made significant progress on the next podcast and asked them to pray for wisdom and inspiration. You see, at my full-time job we had two evening meetings the first two days of the week and my middle-school daughter had an all-day-into-the-evening cross-country meet the next evening. I actually cooked dinner ONE NIGHT this week and we had a meal together as a family AT THE SAME TABLE...just one night. The next night we were all in different directions with football games and sleepovers. Needless to say, I had no margin this week and though I had spent a good deal of time in Scripture throughout the week, I never felt it had anything to do with what God wanted me to share on the podcast. Ugh. Square one. One of my writing friends (she's an amazingly talented poet and writer and you can find her work here) suggested I take a week off...that my listeners would understand. And perhaps you would understand. But I have made a commitment to myself and to God to be consistent! So, sorry Christina, I actually blew off the suggestion. Then my bestie texted and said this..."I bet it would speak more to your listeners if you pulled out the Jonny Diaz episode 'Breathe.' Isn't that where you are? Isn't it an opportunity to share with the listeners God's grace as we run the race?" Why, yes, friend. It is such an opportunity. Do you know what I did after I got the text and decided to take this path? I BREATHED. I put away my writing and listened to a political speech with my husband and then we discussed it afterward. I went with my husband and girls to the Sweet Dough Pie Festival (it's a Cajun thing...and you are really missing out if you have never had one.) We wandered around the festival and I BREATHED. We welcomed my husband's father and uncle over for coffee and a chat and I was able to stay and visit with them instead of sneaking off to write...and I BREATHED. I went back and re-read the area of Scripture I had been in (Judges 13-16 for those of you wondering) and didn't worry about what I needed to write about it, I just pondered it for myself...and I BREATHED. I went to an LSU football game with friends (we won, Geaux Tigers!) and got stuck in traffic for FOUR HOURS and didn't get home until three in the morning, but I knew I had created margin...and I BREATHED. We slept in and enjoyed coffee and cooking shows together as a family, I had a GREAT conversation with my 13-year old, made cookies with my 9-year old and even added some words to the manuscript of the book I am writing...and I BREATHED. So, friend, I hope you take the same opportunity. Sit at the feet of Jesus and BREATHE. Listen to this episode replay for the first time, listen to it again, or skip it all-together. I give you permission. Whatever you do...slow down and BREATHE. On this episode I discuss: Our pride in our own self-sufficiency Our tendency to #hustle and then celebrate our perpetual state of discontentment with addiction An example of characters in the Bible who could have "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz as their theme song, too - Mary and Martha in Luke 10 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is: Write out Scripture by hand Slowing down and writing out Philippians 4 in the Amplified Version Uncovering Paul's secret to being content Contentment is not complacency The book, "Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives" by Dr. Richard Swenson Quote by J.I. Packer, "Contentment is essentially accepting from God's hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good." Investing in sitting at the feet of Jesus through time in His Word. Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Philippians all the way through - it is just 4 chapters. Follow this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercise and take chapter 4 in a translation you are not familiar with and write it out by hand. Slow down. Breathe. Sit at the feet of Jesus. It is the SECRET to learn to be content.


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    October 17, 2016 #139: "Son of David" by Ghost Ship

    A lyric lodged itself in my mind a few weeks ago that I couldn't shake. It worked out okay, because it wasn't one of those cheesy advertising jingles, it was directly from Scripture. I used the song, "Son of David" by Ghost Ship to guide me to Mark 10 and a great story with more tucked in it than you would imagine. Come with me to the gates of Jericho and meet Bartimaeus. On this episode I discuss: The story of Bartimaeus - Mark 10:46-52 "Inspiration and information without personal application will never amount to transformation" - Lysa TerKeurst from her latest book, Uninvited Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Listen to an audio version of Scripture (I use YouVersion) Repetition Read in context Slow down Ask questions My list of questions and observations from this week's story What is the context of the story? What is the significance of the city? How did Mark know Bart's name? What is significance of the name Bart chose to use to call out to Jesus? Even though Bart was was rebuked by others, he still called out Jesus stopped and called him to Himself, then the rebukers encouraged him What is the significance of throwing off his cloak...I heard a sermon once about this once The question we must all answer..."What do you want me to do for you?" (There are two "what do you want me to do for you's" in Mark 10) The answer we should all give..."Restore my sight." What did Jesus say then? What happened? What was Bart's response?   Additional Resources Lyrics and Chords Story Behind the Song "Son of David" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Mark 10 this week. Perhaps you can begin by listening to an audio version. Read it several times and then slow down and list questions and observations you can use to continue study throughout the week. Use this week's song to consider the theme of this story with fresh perspective.


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    October 10, 2016 #138: "Great Are You Lord" by One Sonic Society

    I have a daughter who lacks focus. The more I think about it, the more I think she gets it from me. I read multiple books at once, stop my project at work to read the email that just came in, and get distracted by social media with the rest of them. But what if I slowed down and really unpacked ONE thought from Scripture? This is what happened for me this week as I used "Great Are You Lord" as sung by One Sonic Society to seek truth from God's Word. Hopefully I've raised a few questions this week to really get you thinking, too. On this episode I discuss: Getting "stuck" with where to go in Scripture Considering the truth that God's breath is in our lungs - Genesis 2:7 Biblical worldview Determining how the truth that God's breath is in our lungs will shape our worldview The idea that we are not significant because God needed us - we are significant because God wanted us A reference to Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem Analyzing what I pour out with the breath of God in my lungs An example of impacting culture using a Biblical worldview - Acts 17:16-31 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is: Meditate on Scripture Additional Resources   Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Great Are You Lord" - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge I give you permission to stay on one verse this week. Genesis 2:7 tells us that God himself placed His breath in our lungs. What is the significance of this? Each day this week stop at least once and consider your breath and ponder the idea that it came from God. Analyze what you breath out. Write it down. Use the song to incorporate breathing out worship to God. Need more? Read our story in Acts 17, or read Psalm 145, Psalm 96, or Psalm 48 and recognize that God is worthy of our praise.


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    October 3, 2016 #137: "What You Want" by Tenth Avenue North

    What is your agenda? If you enter a conversation with an agenda, you have a plan for the direction of the discussion. When you receive an agenda for a meeting, it is the leader's plan for the direction of the meeting. What is your agenda -- your plan -- for your life? Does it match God's agenda? Tenth Avenue North's song, "What You Want" leads us to search out the Scripture for what God's agenda. In fact, I take filter the search even further to seek out what brings God delight. Are you ready to go exploring? On this episode I discuss: As an only child with many father figures in my life, I often wanted to please them The desire to please those we love Exploring Scriptures that declare what God delights in The B.I.T.E.s - Bible Interaction Tool Exercises - for the week include: Exploring a topic - use this tool to help Read the context Remember the people in the Bible are REAL Make a list Pray What does God NOT delight in What God DOES delight in - Hosea 6:6 The word picture God asks Hosea to live out The type of sacrifice God desires Praying that God would break our heart over our own betrayal Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Follow my lead and explore the topic of what delights God. To help you along in this I have created a handout. You can get this free resource by clicking here. Just enter your email and you will immediately receive a one-page worksheet that will walk you right through this topic. If you are already a subscriber to my email list, check your Monday morning email and you already have a link to this free resource. Use this resource to invest in searching out this topic. The free resource will include the Greek and Hebrew words for "delight" and scriptures for you to explore in both the Old and New Testaments. Even if you choose not to download the resource, I encourage you to read Hosea. As you read, keep at the top of your mind that God delights in loyalty and knowledge of Him and you will begin to see the magnitude of the betrayal depicted.  


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    September 26, 2016 #136: "Live Like You're Loved" by Hawk Nelson

    There is something that happens when you begin to understand that you are fully loved by God. But it is an entirely different process to start LIVING loved. Hawk Nelson's song, "Live Like You're Loved," sent me on a journey through a good portion of Genesis to examine the life of a man who gives us an example of living loved. Get lost in the story of Joseph with me this week. I hope it will challenge you as much as it has challenged me. On this episode I discuss: Reading Lysa TerKeurst's book "Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely" Performance-based efforts won't work, but full surrender to God will Living loved in spite of suffering as inspired by Paul - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul's maturity about his situation did not happen overnight My tendencies when faced with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles (Warning! It's not pretty) Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read and keep on reading Try an easy to read translation (like New Living Translation) A quick overview of Joseph's life relating it to Paul's list in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The fact that it will be recognizable when you live loved What I need to work on...more compassion, more grace, more words of life, more sincere prayer and less criticism and quick judgment   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read about the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. Read and keep on reading. Don't stop too often the first time. After you've read it all the way through and taken in the highs and lows of Joseph's journey, consider Paul's list in 2 Corinthians 12. Apply the list to Joseph's experiences and your own. Compare and contrast your responses to those you uncover in Scripture. Ask God to convict you and set out a path to live loved out of all the reserves you are building up by staying in God's Word.


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    September 19, 2016 #135: "Magnify" by We Are Messengers

    "You're making this into a bigger deal than it needs to be." How many times have I either been on the giving OR receiving end of this statement? That's what it means to magnify a situation. We make something appear larger than it is. The thing is, we will NEVER be able to "over-magnify" God. There is never a time where we will fully understand how "large" He is. The power comes in when we magnify God over our situation. This is what the song, "Magnify" by We Are Messengers calls us to do. Let's head over to Psalm 34 and magnify the Lord together. I want to realign where my hope is set until He's all that's left. On this episode I discuss: How the word "magnify" in our song led me to Psalm 34:3 The theme of the episode is to magnify God, focusing in on Him alone NOT our troubles When we magnify God we increase the importance or effect of Him in our lives When John the Baptist talks about decreasing so Christ could increase - John 3:30 Setting aside our "What's In It For Me" nature and replacing it with Soli Deo Gloria -- Glory to God Alone Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Make a list Follow the cross reference Complete a word study Focusing on making a list of all of the characteristics and ways of God found in Psalm 34...leaving out all other details A great prophecy tucked into this Psalm that was fulfilled in the death of Jesus, and its significance Magnifying God so that we can no longer see our afflictions Replacing lies with God's true character Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 34 all the way through at least once. Then go back through the entire Psalm and take the extra step to write out the descriptions of God that you see. If you're really bold, mark in your Bible! Underline or circle the descriptions of God. If one of the characteristics you are magnifying pricks your spirit and uncovers a lie, write that verse out on a sticky note and replace the lie with the truth daily. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.


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    September 12, 2016 #134: "To Live Is Christ" by Sidewalk Prophets

    I don't know about you, but I tend to overload myself with distractions and messages. So much so, that I find it difficult to slow down enough to meditate on a thought, on Scripture, or on what God is saying to me. Singing Scripture is a way to meditate on it; and what better way than to use "To Live Is Christ" by Sidewalk Prophets? After all, the lyrics in the chorus come STRAIGHT from Scripture in Philippians chapter 1. Here we find Paul able to find joy in difficult circumstances. Let's consider how that might be possible for us. On this episode I discuss: Learning to meditate on God through song - Psalm 119:15 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Research the historical context Read in context! Introduction to Philippians - Bible.org Paul's profound love for the Philippians - Philippians 1:3-8 How understanding where Paul is coming from can shed light on his advice to others - see Episode 133 A beautiful prayer that I am going to start praying over my kids...AND my listeners - Philippians 1:9-11 Pollyanna and the "Glad Game" Paul's ability to play the "Glad Game" even in his imprisonment - Philippians 1:12-18 Meditating on this... Can we rejoice when our circumstances mean we cannot serve God in the manner we used to? Can we find something to be glad about when we are mis-characterized and misunderstood? Will we take the time and focus to practice rejoicing (being glad) in our current circumstances? Additional Resources Lyrics A "behind the scenes" interview with Sidewalk Prophets - Patheos.com Timeline of the life of the Apostle Paul - Blue Letter Bible This Week's Challenge Start by reading Philippians chapter 1. Since Philippians is a letter, and is only 4 chapters, perhaps you can read the entire letter! Take a new BITE this week by reading about the historical context of Philippians. Play Pollyanna's "Glad Game" like Paul does here, and truly reflect on what you can rejoice about even in dire circumstances.


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    September 5, 2016 #133: "Never Too Far Gone" by Jordan Feliz

    We can hide from God about as well as a toddler hiding under the dining room table in plain sight with eyes tightly shut. Just as He doesn't abandon us when we are trying to hide from Him, God doesn't abandon us when we stray from Him either. Jordan Feliz' song "Never Too Far Gone" leads us to consider the "before Christ" and "after Christ" impact on Paul. Join me in two sections of Scripture this week as we reflect on the life of someone who seemed "too far gone." On this episode I discuss: Christian songs solve the riddles of life with inspiration from music - Psalms 49:3-4 You can't hide from God...and He doesn't want you to - Psalm 139:7-12 Communion with God is summam bonum - the highest good - not checking off items on a list Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Complete a character study Remember that Paul was a real person Read or study to epic music playing in the background The summary Paul gives of himself and his conversion - Galatians 1:11-24 The actual account of Saul's conversion - Acts 9:1-25 The idea that Saul was HORRIBLE (think ISIS beheading kind of horrible) and even he was not "too far gone" for God to set apart and use Creating an environment to increase your probability of communion with God Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Never Too Far Gone" by Jordan Feliz - NewReleaseToday.com Article Timeline of the life of the Apostle Paul - Blue Letter Bible This Week's Challenge Read all about the conversion of Saul in Acts 9. Try reading it with some "epic" music playing in the background. Read Paul's summary of his conversion in Galatians 1. Perhaps in either of these places you may get lost in the story and keep reading! Don't forget that Paul was a real person and all of this really happened to him. Follow Paul's example and get away with God this week. Maybe play some soothing music that will quiet your soul as you move away from the checklist mentality and toward intimacy with God. Give Him space in your schedule and in your mind to speak to you.


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    August 29, 2016 #132: "Every Giant Will Fall" by Rend Collective

    We all need a good anthem to sing at the top of our lungs as we open the sun roof and crank the radio! Oh, wait -- maybe that's just me. "Every Giant Will Fall" by Rend Collective definitely fits the "great anthem" bill, all the while leading us to consider God's ways and our response when faced with giants. Let's consider how the Israelite people responded to the giants occupying their promised land. On this episode I discuss: How you will need to invest time in God's Word to get the benefits of meditation Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Follow the cross references Meditate Story Behind the Song "Every Giant Will Fall" by Rend Collective - NewReleaseToday.com Article Reading Moses' summary speech - Deuteronomy 1 Breaking camp and advancing - Deuteronomy 1:6-8 Taking possession - Deuteronomy 1:8 It won't be easy, but don't fear and don't be discouraged - Deuteronomy 1:19-21 Twelve spies reported the land was good - Deuteronomy 1:22-25 Filling in the details in Number 13 The absurd conclusions of the Hebrew people - Deuteronomy 1:27-28 Moses' encouragement to trust their trustworthy God - Deuteronomy 1:29-31 The people's refusal to trust - Deuteronomy 1:32-33 Letting this song be an anthem for a people of faith who refuse to stay in the wildernesses forever   Additional Resources Lyrics Story Behind the Song "Every Giant Will Fall" by Rend Collective - NewReleaseToday.com Article This Week's Challenge Read Deuteronomy chapter 1 in its entirety. Also read all of Numbers 13. Consider the ways of God revealed in these two chapters, then take time to meditate on the details of the people's response to God. Are you responding in rebellion to God's leading because the possession of your promised land doesn't look like you thought it would?


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    August 22, 2016 #131: "Mended" by Matthew West

    The characters in God's Word are so rich with lives we can relate to and experiences we can learn from. Matthew West's song, "Mended," caused me to look into the life of Mary Magdalene. Mary was broken, but Jesus mended her and changed her life and eternity. Join me as we follow some practical steps to study the life of Mary Magdalene. On this episode I discuss: Story behind the song "Mended" - YouTube Video Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Complete a character study Remember the character is a real person Using a topical resource to find Scripture references - use this article found on Bible Gateway Look up every single reference and log a summary in a notebook - here is my example Discovering Mary was broken, but Jesus mended her - Mark 16:9-11 Using additional resources to help you understand the character further - Bible Gateway article Conclusions Wealth does not mean you won't suffer - Proverbs 11:4 Profound blessings from God does not mean you will be grateful - Luke 17:11-19 Following Jesus is HARD - Matthew 10 - Episode 117 Lessons God's deliverance should equal a heart of gratitude that can be seen in our actions We are blessed to be a blessing She owed much, she gave much, she loved much, she served much When Jesus looked at Mary, she may have seen broken, but He saw mended   Additional Resources Lyrics Matthew West singing to Kathy, the woman who inspired "Mended" - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read all about Mary Magdalene for yourself! Try the resources I used to guide you to Scriptures about Mary. Take the B.I.T.E. of completing a character study by reading Scripture in context, consulting additional resources (only after you've read the Bible for yourself,) and drawing some conclusions and applying lessons learned to your own life. And while you are studying Mary, don't forget that she was a REAL person.


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    August 15, 2016 #130: "That's How You Forgive" by Shane & Shane

    If we fully understood the scope of God's forgiveness, we would be more grateful and more gracious. That has been my personal challenge this week as I used Shane & Shane's song, "That's How You Forgive," to explore just HOW God forgives. Join me on this very powerful journey to explore the depths of God's forgiveness and what it means to and for us. On this episode I discuss: God's standard of forgiveness (see Episode 129 for an introduction to this) How the opening verse of "That's How You Forgive" by Shane & Shane come from Psalm 103 - Psalm 103:8 The difference between a standard and a list of rules The A.C.T.S. model for prayer Adoration - Psalm 103:1-2 Confession Thanksgiving Supplication The Hebrew word for "benefits" in Psalm 103:2 can be translated "dealing" - BibleHub.com Part one of understanding how God forgives is to explore how He deals with us A list of examples of how God "deals" with us in Psalm 103:3-10 Part two of understanding how God forgives is consider WHY He forgives the way He does - Psalm 103:11-16 Part three of understanding how God forgives is to consider the SCOPE of His forgiveness - Psalm 103:12 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Pray! Make a list Pray Scripture Determining if we are meeting God's standard of forgiveness in our dealings with others - Colossians 3:13 How God purifies us in the forgiveness process and how it relates to the refining process discussed in Episode 126 - 1 John 1:9 Ending our prayers with another dose of adoration   Additional Resources Lyrics Story behind the song "That's How You Forgive" by Shane & Shane - New Release Today Story behind the song "That's How You Forgive" by Shane & Shane - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 103 for yourself! Think about the parts of forgiveness we discussed today. Consider how God deals with us and make a list of examples given in this Psalm. Consider why He deals with us in this manner. Consider the scope of His forgiveness. Don't forget to pray! Use your list to rehearse God's greatness. If, like me, this study leads you to understand that you need to make some changes in order to meet God's standard of forgiveness, confess your unforgiveness and ask for help.


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    August 8, 2016 #129: "Christ In Me" by Jeremy Camp

    In this season of the Olympics it is only appropriate to explore an athletic topic as a metaphor to our faith. I heard a returning Olympic athlete say that the medal he received four years ago, while wonderful, was the "wrong color." For this athlete, gold is his standard. Jeremy Camp sings about another high standard in his song, "Christ In Me." Join me in exploring Hebrews 12 as we commit to running the race set before us with our eye on the prize. Finishing strong is the only option. On this episode I discuss: Christ as our standard How knowing and understanding the stories of heroes of the faith motivates us in our own race - Hebrews 12:1 That the theme of Hebrews 12 is endurance The difference between "hindrances" and the "sin that so easily entangles us" - Hebrews 12:1 The historical context of Hebrews The metaphor of racing and how the culture of the day was big into athletic competition Fixing our eyes on our standard - Jesus - Hebrews 12:2 Looking to Christ, first for salvation (see Episode 103), then as a model for daily living Exploring where Christ looked in the Messianic Psalm 16 - Psalm 16:8-11 Looking forward, not back Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Review the historical context Use a commentary (I used Weirsbe's commentary on Hebrews) Follow cross references Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge At a minimum read Hebrews 11 and 12. Maybe pick a hero of the faith in chapter 11 and go read their story. Ask yourself what training weights you may still have on and cast off those hindrances. Be honest with yourself about any sin that may be entangling you and throw that off as well. Finally, look to Jesus and follow HIS pattern of life that leads to the presence of God and fullness of joy.


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    August 1, 2016 #128: "Eye of the Storm" by Ryan Stevenson feat. Gabe Real

    The most compelling music in our lives often speaks to the deepest riddles of our soul. "Eye of the Storm" by Ryan Stevenson speaks of various storms that have impacted all of us at some point or another. However, I believe the song's greatest impact lies in the comfort it brings to those of us in the middle of our own storms of life. The lyrics bring comfort by proclaiming the presence and provision of God. This song led me to the Psalms this week to seek confirmation of God's character, promises, and presence in the middle of my own storms. On this episode I discuss: The power of Christian music to solve life's riddles - Psalms 49:3-4 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Meditate on Scripture Pray Scripture Learning exactly who God is in the middle of the storms of our life - Psalms 46:1-3 The compelling reasons why we should not fear - Psalms 46:1-3 "God's Word and ordinances are rivers and streams with which God makes his saints glad in cloudy and dark days." - Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms 46:4-7 The call to consider the power and works of God in the midst of our chaos - Psalms 46:8-9 What we must do in response to the knowledge we have obtained - Psalms 46:10 Another reference to learning to be still in Episode 91 Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Psalm 46 all the way through the first time. Meditate on what you learn about God, taking time to "be still and know that he is God." Perhaps even journal about what you are learning. Use the truths you have learned about God (and how He responds to your chaotic storms of life) in your prayers of praise back to Him.


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    July 25, 2016 #127: "Clean" by Natalie Grant

    We all have hidden places in us that seem "too dirty" to bring into the light. God's Word washes us to make us holy in His sight. Unfortunately, we avoid the very solution that can bring cleansing and healing, oftentimes because we expected a different solution. Naaman was like this, and we read about him in 2 Kings 5. Head with me over there this week! On this episode I discuss: A podcast interview with Natalie Grant by Justin Paul - iTunes Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Listen to an audio version of the Bible Repetition Read/listen to a variety of translations The lie that "until we can do it right" we shouldn't read the Bible at all Why you would probably follow Naaman on social media - 2 Kings 5:1 The people in Naaman's life who cared enough about him to seek solutions to his affliction - 2 Kings 5:2-3 How we filter God's Word through our own "protocol" and sometimes get it wrong - 2 Kings 5:4-6 How when we involve others unnecessarily in our affliction we can cause unnecessary distress - 2 Kings 5:7-8 Naaman's expectations vs. God's solution - 2 Kings 5:9-12 Naaman's co-workers who talk some sense into him despite his defensiveness - 2 Kings 5:13-14 God's cleansing of us through His Word - Ephesians 5:26   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge I encourage you to read this story for yourself in 2 Kings 5:1-14. While you're there, you might as well keep reading and see what happens next, because Naaman's story doesn't end there! Make repetition your friend by listening to this story using a free audio version of the Bible found online or through an app. Try reading this story in a variety of translations -- perhaps something will jump out at you that never has. Think about this story. Think about the characters. Consider where you see yourself. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this story?"


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    July 18, 2016 #126: "Diamonds" by Hawk Nelson

    Is it possible to be grateful for pain? It's all about perspective. We are all willing to endure pain if we believe the final result to be worth it. Hawk Nelson's song, "Diamonds," has me thinking about the refining process. This song, and the Scripture we uncover on this episode, may be the revelation you need to make it through whatever fiery trial you are enduring. Stick with me and you will see that God has a "place of abundance" for you on the other side of this refining. On this episode I discuss: The difference between un-biblical and non-biblical The article I used as inspiration for my main points today - Blog Article by June Hunt Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Explore a topic Make a list Psalm 66 with our focus area - Psalm 66:8-12 God as our Refiner - Psalm 66:10 Allowing God's Word to break us - Jeremiah 23:29 The crucible (a fireproof melting pot able to withstand extreme heat) - Proverbs 17:3 Removing dross (impurities) so that we can be formed into a useful vessel - Proverbs 25:4 How the refining process is not a one-and-done affair - Psalm 12:6 How God wants to use our affliction to refine us - Isaiah 48:10 How our afflictions and trials refine our faith - 1 Peter 1:6-7 That although Psalm 66:12 speaks of going through fire and water, Isaiah 43:1-4 speaks of God's redemption of these circumstances because we are precious in His sight (might I add, not unlike diamonds!)     Additional Resources Lyrics Story behind the song "Diamonds" by Hawk Nelson - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Ponder this topic of refining. Read Psalm 66 in context and then follow up on the other references I list in the show notes. Allow God's Word to break you so that He can refine you and remove the dross from your life. Be patient in this process. The Refiner will repeatedly subject you to high heat to refine you, but all of this is because you are precious and honored in His sight -- and He loves you.


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    July 11, 2016 #125: "Run Devil Run" by Crowder

    I'm sick and tired of being a prisoner of war. I'm ready to send my enemy running for the hills, aren't you? Crowder, in his new song "Run Devil Run," inspired me to create a strategy against the devil. It's all laid out for us in Scripture. It's time to get serious about our strategy against a very real enemy. Are you ready? On this episode I discuss: Story behind the song "Run Devil Run" - YouTube Video The enemy has a strategy - Ephesians 6:11 The main weapon of the devil is the LIE Department of Defense Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Our formidable foe - Ephesians 6:12 Our strategy to fight the enemy Prepare Prevent acquisition Contain and reduce threats Respond to crises Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Slow down Read in various translations Repetition We are soldiers of Christ - see Episode 104 Studying a previous battle plan of the enemy - Genesis 3 The Lie: Destruction of Relationship - a video resource by my mentor How our strategy must include others - Ephesians 6:18 How we must be flexible and maintain robust situational awareness - Ephesians 6:18   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Be a good soldier this week. Spend some time preparing by studying a common battle plan of the enemy in Genesis 3. Prevent acquisition by filling your heart and mind with the truth of God's Word on a consistent basis. Contain and reduce threats by daily (even many times a day) putting on and securing the armor of God found in Ephesians 6. Respond to crises with flexibility, maintaining situational awareness and working with fellow believers. Don't hide. Don't blame. Know truth. Don't give up.


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    July 4, 2016 #124: "Your Words" by Third Day

    My favorite musical of all time is "My Fair Lady." Sometimes I feel like Eliza when she sings, "Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words!" You may find that strange considering the number of words I speak and write each week. We are inundated with SO MANY WORDS every moment of every day, and God patiently stands in line waiting for us to listen to HIS WORDS. Third Day sings about God's Word in the song "Your Words," and we will use this song to inspire us to read God's Word for ourselves. God's Words have a purpose and they will accomplish what God desires. It's probably a good idea, then, to know God's Words and their purpose. Let's dive in! On this episode I discuss: A beautiful Scripture that my youngest used to read daily - Isaiah 55:10-11 We can't speak words we don't know, and we can't KNOW them by reading them once (or never at all) Introduction to the Book of Isaiah - Bible.org God's Word nourishes better than food Isaiah 55:1-2 Jesus said it in Matthew 4:4 when he referred to... Deuteronomy 8:3 God must discipline us for disobedience God's discipline is not to punish, but to call back to the standard of obedience Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Review an outline overview Chase rabbits (also known as cross references) - favorite tool is BibleHub.com Pray Scripture We don't hunger anymore Heeding God's call to listen to Him - Isaiah 55:3 Rejoicing in the fact that we don't always understand God - Isaiah 55:8-9 An example of fighting back with the very words of God A revelation of what God's Word will accomplish - Isaiah 55:12-13   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Use this week's podcast to guide you to Isaiah 55. Read it all the way through (in context). Follow my rabbit trail (also known as cross references) to Matthew 4 and Deuteronomy 8 and back to Isaiah 55. Fight against the enemy with God's very words. Wait expectantly for the fruit to grow...for God's Word to accomplish all that He wants it to.


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    June 27, 2016 #123: "Abide With Me" by Matt Maher

    I have always loved the word abide. So many times English words don't give enough umph as compared to their Greek or Hebrew counterparts, but abide is a good one. I wish it was as easy to accomplish as it is to understand the definition. "Abide With Me" by Matt Maher leads us to a conversation Jesus had with his disciples in a vineyard. It is with this metaphor that we learn some significant lessons about abiding. It is here we also learn what kind of impact it could have on our lives if we can get it right. On this episode I discuss: The book I used extensively to prepare for this podcast - "Secrets of the Vine" by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson Singing this song as a prayer to God, always remembering it is also a request from our Savior Searching for terms online like "abide with me in Scripture" to find John 15 Considering the context before and after the conversation Jesus had with His disciples in John 15 (jumping up to John 12 all the way through John 18) Our focus conversation in a vineyard - John 15:1-11 Our roles in Jesus' metaphor Jesus is the vine We are the branches God is the vinedresser The goal is to produce LOADS of fruit The word study that changes everything - find it here in BibleHub How Jesus gave the directive to abide by using the term TEN times! Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Get up early to read God's Word Write in a daily spiritual journal Pray (and seek God until you find Him) - Jeremiah 29:13 Becoming an expert at being God's friend   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge John 15 and the chapters surrounding it are a powerful place in Scripture to sit and ponder. Consider implementing the BITEs this week -- get up earlier to read God's Word, write in a daily spiritual journal, and seek Him with all of your heart. These steps might just be what you're missing to put you on the path to abiding.


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    June 20, 2016 #122: Being Careful Not to Forget the Lord

    Over and over in Scripture God instructs His people to remember. He tells them set up markers so they remember. He institutes festivals so they remember. He gave us symbols and ceremonies even going so far as to say, "This do in remembrance of Me." On this episode I take some time to recount where this whole podcast even began and to rejoice in impacted lives. Join me in following the pattern that God has set out for His people. Join me in remembering. On this episode I discuss: God's instructions to be careful not to forget the Lord - Deuteronomy 6:10-12 Using Deuteronomy 6:10-12 I consider: Large and prosperous cities I did not built - God's story in me Houses stocked with goods that I did not produce - the songs I highlight on this podcast written and sung by others Drawing from cisterns I did not dig - the knowledge I gain from the wisdom and revelation of others Eating from vineyards and trees I did not plant - YOU! (my listeners) The Scripture that inspired it all - Psalm 119:15 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Complete a word study Meditate on God's Word The power of a song to stay with us and impact us for years to come     Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge A great place to sit for a while this week is Psalm 119. It holds 176 verses of meditations and prayers relating to the Word of God. The psalm is an acrostic of twenty-two stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The eight poetic lines of each stanza begin with the same Hebrew letter. Let the words of this Psalm become the meditations of your heart and don't forget to listen to what God may be saying to you!


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    June 13, 2016 #121: "If We're Honest" by Francesca Battistelli

    Chances are that even today you have had an experience with relationships that fills you or drains you. We can be filled up by people we've never met in person in a private Facebook group and drained with merely a look by those closest to us. Because of the unpredictability of others, we often build up walls that keep us from truth and freedom that God has for us through others. Francesca Battistelli's song "If We're Honest" opens up that discussion for us as we seek truths in Scripture that will help us experience relationships like we never have before. God's Word holds truths and principles that we can follow to unlock a beauty in relationships that may still be hidden from view. On this episode I discuss: The genesis of this song as told by Francesca Battistelli - YouTube Video Confessing our sins and struggles to each other - James 5:16 The enemy's plan to keep us isolated, not in fellowship Being a trustworthy friend Two special roommates - wisdom and prudence - Proverbs 8:12 Steps to fulfilling relationships with others who long to know and follow hard after Christ Vulnerability Honesty Accountability - Proverbs 27:6 Intentionality Spiritual partnership and fellowship as referenced on Episode 119 Elements of some special friendships that have grown into accountability relationships Growing together Serving together Reading the same book or devotion Fasting together Working hard at it Thinking the best of one another Being committed and celebrating that commitment Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is: Using section headings to get your bearings Matthew 18 Principle - Matthew 18:15-20 Additional Resource Story behind the song "If We're Honest" by Francesca Battistelli  with lyrics - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Meditate on some of the areas of Scripture referenced on this episode. James 5 is where we learn to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another. Matthew 18 teaches us a profound principle for relationships. There are many Proverbs you could explore topically that will give you wisdom in relating to one another. The best thing you can do, along with meditating on Scripture this week, is to pray for one another. Be FOR each other enough to do the hard things.


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    June 6, 2016 #120: "Great Is Our God" by Plumb

    The Bible is full of songs of praise. When we consider the words of these songs, we see deep, rich, pattern-altering examples of how to appropriately respond to our great God. The lyrics of "Great Is Our God" by Plumb are reflected in a song written by David and given to us as Psalm 145. Sometimes we blow past these meaningful songs without letting them sink in and transform the way we think. This week we will slow down. On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Read in context Repetition Read the text aloud Reading through this Psalm and not remembering what I read the next day - Psalm 145 Noticing how my character traits do not match the traits of my heavenly Father How praying for others and sharing the verses you are reading can help you retain A "hidden" promise in this Psalm that God will satisfy our hunger for Him - Psalm 145:16 How I understand the struggle to keep daily time in God's Word a priority Considering the many ways the psalmist reflects proclaiming the greatness of God As a faithful follower of God, we should be prepared to speak of the examples of God's power specifically personally Teaching our children to "See God" - Give Them Wisdom Video by Merida Brooks "Magnolia spotting" with my daughter, Meredith   Additional Resources Story behind the song "Great Is Our God" by Plumb with lyrics - New Release Today Article This Week's Challenge Get inspired by this week's song to dig into Psalm 145. Spend some real time in it. Try using the Bible Interaction Tool Exercise of reading it out loud. Don't just do a quick drive by. Meditate on the words and even try to remember what you've read! Make a list of your own of personal examples of God's goodness in your life and share them with others...proclaim them. May you bless His holy name forever and ever.


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    May 30, 2016 #119: "The God I Know" by Love & The Outcome

    "Thanks for reading this, I am thrilled to introduce you to the God I know," says the apostle John (basically) as he opens his letter to believers in 1 John. The duo, Love & The Outcome, seems equally as thrilled to introduce us to God through the lyrics of their song, "The God I Know." As we continue to read 1 John, however, we are drawn into a deeper understanding of where this "knowing" might lead. It's pretty exciting. We get introduced to a pretty powerful word. Ready to jump in? On this episode I discuss: Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Pray before diving into God's Word Complete a word study Praying using the acronym P.R.A.Y. Power Revelation Application Yielding John testifies to the God he knows in 1 John - 1 John 1:1-3 One word is repeated four times in 1 John 1 - fellowship - koinónia Word study for koinónia in BibleHub.com spiritual partnership join participation contributory help or assistance sharing in communion intimacy in relationship a bond for a united purpose Considering the opposite of fellowship/koinónia disunity going it alone entitlement surface relationships two agendas Three (of the 19) references that use koinónia Acts 2:42 Romans 15:26 1 Corinthians 1:9 We see in Corinthians that we are "called by God" to have fellowship with Him and John further clarifies what this looks like - 1 John 1:5-7 If you are struggling to have koinónia with other believers consider 1 John 1:8-10   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read all of 1 John, then focus in on chapter one. Try looking at the word study for koinónia in BibleHub.com. Track down some more of the references to deepen your understanding of this Greek word. Don't forget to pray each time you pick up God's Word. Consider referencing the acronym P.R.A.Y. to ask God for power, revelation, application and a yielded spirit.


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    May 23, 2016 #118: "I Will Follow" by Chris Tomlin

    Do we have an intellectual devotion to God or a heart-wrenching allegiance to Him? Follow me to the Book of Ruth this week as we explore big themes using "I Will Follow" by Chris Tomlin as inspiration. Ruth's total devotion and life of submission have challenged me this week. I hope her story impacts you as well. On this episode I discuss: My daughter, Meredith's, memory verse - Ruth 1:16-17 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Reading in context Repetition Listen to the Scripture Read (or listen) in a variety of translations Concentrate on big themes The deep love and devotion Ruth had for Naomi - Ruth 1 Putting our feet on a path to deep, abiding love for our Father rather than just cultural and intellectual devotion The theme of submission to authority Following God's instructions for our lives without "customization" (also known as disobedience) How God doesn't make mistakes - sometimes His will IS the long way around Exploring the themes in Ruth (not an all inclusive list) Redemption Joy Legacy Submission without customization Deep, abiding love The "could haves" in Ruth's story Additional Resources Lyrics Story behind the song "I Will Follow" by Chris Tomlin - YouTube Video This Week's Challenge Read in context - all four chapters of Ruth. Read it several times. Listen to it. Read or listen to it in several versions. Concentrate on the big themes. Maybe even pick one big theme I have listed this week and read and listen with only that theme in mind. It's going to be an exciting week!


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    May 16, 2016 #117: "Sparrows" by Jason Gray

    I don't think we fully comprehend how valuable we are to God. He tells us in many different ways and contexts and this week's song, "Sparrows" by Jason Gray, leads us to one of those sections of Scripture where Jesus makes it very clear how valuable we are to our Father. The reason it is so important that we understand our value to God may surprise you, however. On this episode I discuss: You can't add a single day by worrying - Matthew 6:27 Don't worry your life away, don't let the trouble win - Matthew 6:34 Not a field or flower escapes His  notice - Matthew 6:26, Matthew 6:28-30 I chose Matthew 10 because Matthew 10:29 mentions sparrows and so does our song How amazing it must have felt to the disciples to be bestowed the authority to do amazing things like Jesus Relying on God's provision instead of financial buffers - Matthew 10:5-10 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are: Reading in context Asking questions Breaking down Matthew 10:11-15 by asking questions Understanding our value to God Random facts 540 million house sparrows in the world 7.4 billion people in the world 150,000 hairs on each of our heads (on average) 1.11 quadrillion hairs are numbered by God Nothing you are going through escapes His notice   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read all of Matthew 10 in context, of course! Ask questions while you are reading. Seek first to understand the Scripture before you seek to understand what it might mean for you. After you break it down with your questions, it will be easier to discover revelation and application for your life.


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    May 9, 2016 #116: "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz

    Our society celebrates a lack of margin with hashtags and t-shirts while sacrificing health and relationships along the way. This week's song, "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz reminds us that we need to stop and sit at the feet of Jesus and just be. This, however, will take a purposed effort on your part. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, gives us a secret to contentedness. I can't wait to discover it with you. On this episode I discuss: Our pride in our own self-sufficiency Our tendency to #hustle and then celebrate our perpetual state of discontentment with addiction An example of characters in the Bible who could have "Breathe" by Jonny Diaz as their theme song, too - Mary and Martha in Luke 10 Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is: Write out Scripture by hand Slowing down and writing out Philippians 4 in the Amplified Version Uncovering Paul's secret to being content Contentment is not complacency The book, "Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives" by Dr. Richard Swenson Quote by J.I. Packer, "Contentment is essentially accepting from God's hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good." Investing in sitting at the feet of Jesus through time in His Word.   Additional Resources Lyrics This Week's Challenge Read Philippians all the way through - it is just 4 chapters. Follow this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercise and take chapter 4 in a translation you are not familiar with and write it out by hand. Slow down. Breathe. Sit at the feet of Jesus. It is the SECRET to learn to be content.


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    May 2, 2016 #115: "Thy Will" by Hillary Scott

    In difficult seasons of life we often seek to know "why," or
    even blame someone or something as if it makes it all better. This
    week's song "Thy Will" by Hillary Scott is a moving ballad of
    surrender to the will of a God we can trust. I use this song to
    introduce us to Hagar, who had to do a little submitting to God's
    will herself.
    I find it so interesting that Hagar gets to name God in this
    section of God's Word.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Being in a situation where you thought God led you, but now you
    are just broken and hurt
    The story behind why Hillary Scott hasn't shared what the song
    is about for her - You Tube Video
    Potential areas of Scripture that this song might lead -
    Matthew 6, Luke 11
    The promise of God to Abram without the "how" or "when" details
    we all long for - Genesis 15:5-6
    Introduction to Hagar, servant of Sarai in Genesis 16
    How it ended up that Hagar was pulled into Abram and Sarai's
    story - Genesis 16:2
    From conception to contempt - Genesis 16:3-4
    How Sarai was hoppin' mad at the consequences of her
    own choices - Genesis 16:5-6
    Some messages by Beth Moore that helped me understand this
    section better - The God Who Sees
    God's tendency to ask us questions to draw into dialogue with
    Him - Genesis 16:7-9
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool
    Exercise this week is:

    Journal your dialogue with
    God


    God's call for submission along with a promise - Genesis
    16:10-12
    The part where Hagar names God - Genesis 16:13

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics and the
    story behind the song - Taste of Country

    This Week's Challenge
    Read Genesis 16 and try this week's Bible Interaction Tool
    Exercises of journaling your dialogue with God based on the
    questions posed to Hagar in verse 8. Then, if God gives you
    direction, follow it...submit to His authority over your life. You
    can trust Him.


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    April 25, 2016 #114: "Joy of the Lord" by Rend Collective

    "I don't want to have bumper sticker theology." This term a friend used recently has seared into my brain this week. I don't either! So, how do we fight the temptation to boil down all of our deeply held beliefs based on the truths of Scripture into catch phrases, platitudes or misused verses? We fight "bumper sticker theology" by understanding the full context of these truths in Scripture. "Joy of the Lord" by Rend Collective brings out an oft-used phrase that we will keep out of the zone of "bumper sticker theology" by studying the context of when it was first spoken.
    Meet me in Nehemiah where the Hebrew people were a hot mess. I think you may be surprised why.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Education without action is entertainment
    Don't just decide to read and interact with God's Word this week...jump in!
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are:

    Read in context
    Discover and do


    Story behind the song "Joy of the Lord" on New Song Cafe by Worship Together - YouTube Video
    The place of despair and loss of identity by the exiles in Jerusalem
    What the people did right after the wall was rebuilt - Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5
    The praise that followed the reading of God's Word and the posture of the people - Nehemiah 8:6-8
    Where the lyrics of our song come from (in context) - Nehemiah 8:9-10
    How further study of God's Word showed the people something they had not been doing and what they did with that "discovery"
    The lesson I "discovered" with my girls in Scripture this week - Colossians 3:13

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    The song story behind the song "Joy of the Lord" by Rend Collective - YouTube Video

    This Week's Challenge
    Read Nehemiah. To make this challenge even more enjoyable, I give you permission to skim through the lists of names found in several places throughout. If you discover something you have not been doing, by all means make arrangements to start following the direction of the Lord!


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    April 18, 2016 #113: "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave

    Have you ever told a part of your story that you have been keeping inside? There is a freedom that comes in the telling. Big Daddy Weave capture the power of testimony in their song, "My Story."
    I've been greatly impacted by the testimony of others recently. It sent me to explore the story of Solomon.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Spiritual Emphasis Week at the Christian School where I work
    The ministry of Rick and Mick Vigneulle - www.rickandmick.com
    How the thoughtless words of others can set us on a trajectory of destruction
    How there is no place too low for God to pull us up from
    On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, what are your chances of making it to heaven?
    Why there is such power in testimony - Revelation 12:11
    Solomon's beginning - 2 Samuel 12:24-25
    Solomon's dysfunctional family
    Where Solomon's story intersects with his siblings - 2 Samuel 13:28-29
    Solomon's father's end-of-life words to him - 1 Kings 2:1-4
    Taking a B.I.T.E. Out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are:

    Read and keep on reading - spend enough time to get caught up in the story
    Write out your story



     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    The story behind the song "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave - New Release Today Article
    The story behind the song "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave - YouTube Video

    This Week's Challenge
    Read and keep on reading in 2 Samuel 12 through 1 Kings 11 to see the story of Solomon. Consider the similarities in Solomon's life to your own. Then write out your story. You will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Bonus points? Share your story with someone else. You never know how God can use it!


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    April 11, 2016 #112: "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle

    Trust is a key foundation to our relationship with God the Father, Son AND Holy Spirit. When we allow our circumstances to define the character of God rather than His Word, we can easily be led to fear and doubt instead of trust. "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle is a profound proclamation in song of our trust in God despite our circumstances.
    We will once again use the gift of a song to lead us to an even deeper impact on our souls, and that is hiding the truth of Scripture deep inside.
    On this episode I discuss:


    Deciding today to allow God's Word to define God's character and not our circumstances
    Taking a B.I.T.E. Out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is:

    Creating review cards by hand writing key Scriptures
    Most useful when you actually review them!


    How trusting in God is mentioned twice and "fret not" is mentioned 3 times in 8 short verses - Psalm 37:1-8
    Being sure we are not an "evildoer" as we read through Psalm 37
    My "life verse" - Proverbs 3:5-6
    Heeding God's warning to operate in our own wisdom - Proverbs 3:7-8
    The verses from Psalm 37 that I chose to write out on review cards

    Psalm 37:3 - I love the idea of "befriending faithfulness"
    Psalm 37:4 - I talk about delighting ourselves in the Lord
    Psalm 37:5-6 - Trusting God to act on our behalf
    Psalm 37:12-13 - A wonderful look at God's perspective
    Psalm 37:23-24 - Even though our steps are "custom fit" by God when we delight in His ways, we may still fall


    The verses I chose to represent the lyrics from the bridge of "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle

    You are my strength and comfort - Psalm 27:1
    You are my steady hand - Psalm 37:23-24
    You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand - 1 Corinthians 3:11
    Your ways are always higher - Isaiah 55:9
    Your plans are always good - Jeremiah 29:11
    There's not a place where I'll go, you've not already stood - Psalm 139:5



     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    The story behind the song "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge
    Use this song to inspire you to spend some time in Psalm 37 this week. Take a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture by following the Bible Interaction Tool Exercise of writing down key verses on note cards and review them regularly. Review them before you get in the car in the morning. Review them before you break for lunch in the afternoon. Have your spouse or children read them to you while you're driving. Call up a friend and read the verses to them. Allow God's Word to define the character of God and not your circumstances. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act.


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    April 4, 2016 #111: "Live On Forever" by The Afters

    Our existence here on earth is temporary. God's ultimate plan for our lives is for us to live on forever with Him. He calls it eternal life and that is the topic of this week's song by The Afters. "Live On Forever" inspired me to read about the life of Enoch.
    I can't wait to explore this interesting and stirring story about a man who walked with God.
    On this episode I discuss:


    The story behind the song "Live On Forever" by The Afters - YouTube Video by The Afters
    Description of the new heaven and new earth in our "forever" life - Revelation 21:1-7
    Taking a B.I.T.E. Out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is:

    Creating a character profile
    I chose Enoch to go along with our song this week


    Enoch walked with God and never died - Genesis 5:24
    Enoch was a man of faith and one who was known as a person who pleased God - Hebrews 11:5
    Enoch prophesied of the end times and was the 7th from Adam - Jude 1:14-15
    A deeper look at Enoch's family heritage - Genesis 5:18-24
    Walking with God - a continuous, conversational relationship
    Enoch's walk included obedience - John 14:23
    Living forever is not the goal -- intimacy with God and His presence forever is the goal
    Enoch's walk included earnestly seeking God - Hebrews 11:5-6
    Our memory verse for the week - 1 John 2:17
    The promise of eternal life when God's Word remains in us - 1 John 2:24-25
    Victory as described by Christ - Revelation 21:7
    How our walk should reflect Enoch's in its continuous nature - 1 John 2:28

     
    Additional Resources
    Lyrics
    This Week's Challenge
    Increase your intimacy with God by staying in His Word. We've touched on several areas of Scripture this week. Use these touch points to inspire you to explore all of 1 John, Hebrews 11 or Revelation 21. Remember, God's presence is the goal.


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    March 28, 2016 #110: "Alive In Me" by JJ Weeks Band

    When a song like "Alive In Me" by JJ Weeks Band can so clearly list out truths found in God's Word, I can't help but be inspired to jump right in. When you take the time to dwell in the same places the songwriters did, the meaning gets deeper, the lyrics seem richer and the Truth invades your memory.
    Join me as I use this week's song to "prove" the truth of the lyrics through Scripture. And this truth is supremely powerful...the Spirit of God is alive in those who follow Christ as their Savior.
    On this episode I discuss:


    How the opening lyric leads me to 2 Corinthians 4:8
    Why we can overcome based on 2 Corinthians 4:7
    How God's Word can be confusing at times
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are:

    Skip over what you don't understand and zero in on the parts you do (for now)
    Get inspired by something (a devotion, a song, a sermon, etc.) and use it to dig into God's Word


    How to use the lyrics in this week's song to find the Truths in Scripture

    "The Light that pierced the dark" - John 1:1-5 & 2 Corinthians 4:6
    "The Word that stilled the sea" - Matthew 8:23-27
    "The Spirit that tore the veil" - Matthew 27:51 & 2 Corinthians 3:13-16
    "The Power that healed our hearts" - Psalm 147:3
    "The Love that set us free" - 2 Corinthians 3:17
    "The Spirit that conquered death" - Romans 8:11



     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge
    Use the list in the show notes above and read the verses in context (meaning read Psalm 147 in it's entirety, read the whole story of the calming of the stormy sea, etc.) Or you might be inspired to read the first few chapters of 2 Corinthians and sit there for the week. Don't forget our BITE...zero in on what you can understand for now...don't miss out on the good stuff you do understand because of discouragement about the stuff you don't.


    Click Below to Listen to the Podcast Now!


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    March 21, 2016 #109: "God Is On The Move" by 7eventh Time Down

    There are many sorrows in the world today that we can point to, but even in the midst of the sin trouble we see around us, it is evident that God is still on the move! That is why the message of this week's song by 7eventh Time Down, "God Is On The Move," is so powerful.
    Even though the Bible is FULL of examples of God being "on the move," one of the most epic periods in my mind is the early church.
    On this episode I discuss:

    How much I love the Book of Acts and my Papa's challenge to me as a young woman
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week is:

    Discuss what you're learning with a friend


    How God was on the move in the early church
    A quick recap of the events that led to Peter's first Spirit-filled sermon that led to 3,000 new souls saved for Christ - Acts 2:41
    How the new believers built community after that - Acts 2:42

    The apostle's teaching - 1 John 1:1-4
    Fellowship
    Breaking bread
    Prayer


    The excitement generated when God is on the move

    Those who respond with wonder and amazement - Acts 3:10 ESV
    Those who will be utterly astounded - Acts 3:11 ESV


    The opposition when God is on the move

    Those who will be greatly annoyed - Acts 4:1-2 ESV
    Those who will try to stop the move of God - Acts 4:16-18

    I reference Episode 38 where I unpack how the apostles responded to the instruction to stop using the name of Jesus




    Wise advice to prevent finding yourself opposing God - Acts 5:38-39
    How we should respond when God is on the move

    Invest your life in community - Acts 2:42
    Give God the credit - Acts 3:12
    Pray for boldness - Acts 4:29

    Honestly, just be willing to pray. I've been talking about prayer recently on Episode 105 and Episode 108.




    Responding by standing on the Truth

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge

    Pick up the Book of Acts and read chapters 1-4 for yourself to get comfortable with all of the details surrounding the highlights I've shared on this episode. Grab a friend and share your thoughts and conclusions with them. Better yet, have them read chapters 1-4 also and then discuss!

     


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    March 14, 2016 #108: "Ever Be" by Aaron Shust

    If we want God's praise to "ever be" on our lips, then we need to develop patterns to help make it happen. This week's song, "Ever Be" by Aaron Shust led me to Psalm 22 where I uncovered a powerful pattern for prayer. The Psalm itself details how we can be fooled into defining the character of God through the lens of our circumstances.
    Don't make the mistake of thinking the theme of your praise is derived from your circumstances. The theme of your praise should be derived from God alone.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Using the power of Christian music to rehearse the greatness of God
    **Random note: I don't really discuss this on the episode, but I use the phrase, "Woe is me and oh lament" several times and it comes from a Christmas song by Roger Whittaker about Darcy the Dragon. For those of you who care...here's a link the song! YouTube Audio Link**
    The Psalms contain many songs in the Bible
    Using the free memory verse resources I create each week to hide God's Word in your heart - sign up here
    The verse that led us to Psalm 22 today - Psalm 22:25
    Lysa Teurkeurst's story about her Liberian son - read more about Lysa here
    How our feelings cannot accurately describe the character of God...He IS Who He IS
    The B.I.T.E - Bible Interaction Tool Exercise - for the week is using a Psalm as a pattern for prayer - use this tool to follow the pattern for yourself
    Jesus' fulfillment of many aspects of this Psalm in Matthew 27

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    A devotional by Aaron Shust - "Ever Be" - Read the devotion here

    This Week's Challenge


    Read Psalm 22 for yourself! Use the Psalm as a pattern for prayer this week and download this week's resource to walk you through it and write out your prayer to God. Then go read Matthew 27 and discover the fulfillment of many elements of this prophetic Psalm in the death of Jesus on the cross. Ponder, consider, meditate, write and pray. And may His praise "ever be" on your lips this week, but more than that, may HE be the THEME of your praise from now on. 


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    March 7, 2016 #107: "Alone" by Hollyn feat. TRU

    On the other side of our confidence that God will never leave or forsake us is often the desperate cry, "Lord, don't leave me alone." This cry is found in the lyrics of our feature song this week, "Alone" by Hollyn featuring TRU. It was the call of a very famous character in the Bible, too. Moses' appeal to the Father was even deeper. It was not only a plea that God would not leave Him alone, but a reciprocal petition asking God not to ask them to go anywhere without Him.
    There is much to be learned from Moses in all of this.
    On this episode I discuss:

    The story behind the song "Alone" by Hollyn - New Release Today article
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week are:

    Read and keep on reading
    Listen to the audio version (The YouVersion App is the one I use for this)


    A quick "fly over" of the Book of Exodus leading up to our focus chapter
    How God describes His people as "stiff-necked and rebellious"...Hollyn describes us as "punks sometimes" - Exodus 33:1-3
    How God's people chose the consequences that they eventually bore...and so do we
    The "disastrous word" from God - Exodus 33:4-6
    The ornaments we may still be wearing that remind God of a season of our unfaithfulness to Him
    God's presence is what makes us distinct - Exodus 33:14-16
    How God so completely filled the tabernacle that there was no room for Moses - Exodus 40:34-35

     
     
    Additional Resources
    Download the single or the album by clicking the link below.



    Lyrics
    Proverbs 31 Ministries - First 5 App

    This Week's Challenge

    Read all of Exodus this week. It will be challenging, but you can do it. It's probably too much to read in one sitting. However, if you read or listen to it for 20 minutes a day, you should be able to finish in 6 days and have a day to go back and ponder details. Don't get bogged down in the parts you don't understand. There is a beautiful "big picture" that will begin to emerge as you read and keep on reading.
     

     


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    February 29, 2016 #106: "Who I Am" by Blanca

    The topic of identity is blazing across headlines daily these days. It's always been an issue. How do we define who we are? Do we identify with this group or that group? Are we defined by what we do or how much we make? As Christians we need to get a grip on this very important topic. Blanca's song, "Who I Am" brings us to our senses and reminds us that we need to have our identity in the One Who made us. It matters more Whose we are than who we are. This week we examine a potential identity crisis in the life of David.
    We do well to learn as much as we can from the very human, very flawed people of God as revealed in Scripture.
    On this episode I discuss:

    "When I know Whose I am, I know who I am." - Blanca in a Behind the Music "Who I Am" Air1 Radio YouTube Video
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is considering that the characters we are reading about in the Bible are REAL, picturing them in their environments and considering their probable feelings and emotions
    The main highlights of 1 Samuel leading up to our focus scene in 1 Samuel 16
    Samuel's state of mind as he heads out on a new assignment from God - 1 Samuel 16:1
    Acknowledging our sorrow, grief and sadness while picking up and moving on when God calls
    The mindset of the people of Bethlehem as they welcomed Samuel - 1 Samuel 16:4-5
    A solid revelation from God Himself...He looks on the heart - 1 Samuel 16:7, Romans 12:2
    The importance of tending to our heart more than our outside appearance so we won't be rejected by God - 1 Samuel 16:7
    Jesse and his misunderstanding of what was important to God - 1 Samuel 8-11
    Unpacking what David's thought life might entail given the complete disregard of his family
    Discovering which character in this story reflects where you are in your life

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Story behind the song "Who I Am" by Blanca with Kevin Davis - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge

    Read 1 Samuel 16 for yourself. Consider all of the characters in the story. How are they affected by the circumstances? Do you see anything you have never considered before?

     


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    February 22, 2016 #105: "Touch the Sky" by Hillsong United

    Our natural tendency is to hold tightly to our lives. We grip our hopes and dreams so tightly often little life remains in them. We cling to our way of thinking, our eyes squeezed tightly shut. All the while, our Savior reaches out to us with grace, mercy, joy and hope on the other side of our obedience to HIS way.  This week's song, "Touch the Sky" by Hillsong United paints a beautiful picture of surrender which led me to consider a most wonderful practice of surrender -- prayer.
    Choose to explore Ephesians 6 this week, but most of all, determine in your heart to pray.
    On this episode I discuss:

    The definition of surrender - to agree to stop fighting, hiding and resisting
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - our Bible Interaction Tool Exercise this week is praying before reading God's Word and asking for His wisdom, understanding and direction
    Using the memory verse from Episode 86 to ask God for the desire and power to understand His Word
    How Christ died so that we should no longer live for ourselves - 2 Corinthians 5:15
    How we find our lives in Christ when we lay down our lives - Matthew 16:24-26
    Total abandonment to God is the only way to true life in Christ
    The story behind the song, "Touch the Sky" with Joel Houston and Taya Smith - YouTube Video
    The book "How to Pray" by R.A. Torrey as my inspiration for my discussion on prayer on this episode
    The "all"s in Ephesians 6:18

    Praying at ALL times in the Spirit
    With ALL prayer and supplication
    Keeping alert with ALL perseverance
    Making supplication for ALL the saints


    That prayer is important because there is a devil
    How prayer is God's design for obtaining His favor and blessing
    Our neglect of prayer leads to the powerlessness we experience in our daily lives - James 4:2
    A scene from the movie "War Room" - YouTube Video
    Aligning our prayers with God's agenda
    How the apostles regarded prayer as the most important business of their lives - Acts 6:2-4
    How prayer occupied a very prominent place and played a very important part in the earthly life of Jesus - Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12
    Through prayer we obtain grace, mercy and fullness of joy - Hebrews 4:16, John 16:24
    How prayer is the pathway to peace - Philippians 4:6-7
    How prayer brings power into our work and leads others to salvation, in addition to promoting our own spiritual growth

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge

    First things first. PRAY! Pray each day this week before you put your feet on the floor. Pray before you crack open your Bible. Pray constantly each time it comes to your mind. Lift your petitions, your praise AND your thanksgiving to God...pray in varied ways. Humbly plead for your needs. Watch for God to answer by praying in an expectant and sleepless way. Don't give up! Be persistent. If you don't know what to pray for, then pray that God will give you an unreasonable desire for His Word. At that point, open Ephesians 6:10-20 and consider the foundation of today's discussion. Read that section in a variety of translations to roll it around in your mind and look at it from different angles.

     


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    February 15, 2016 #104: "Move (Keep Walkin')" by TobyMac

    There are many times when I am cemented by the enormity of the obstacles in front of me. I am terrified, or overwhelmed, or saddened or any other host of immobilizing emotions. This is why I enjoy the song, "Move (Keep Walkin')" by TobyMac. I use the song to deploy us to 2 Timothy, where we can get "unstuck" by simply following Paul's advice to Timothy.
    It may be simple, but it will be challenging. I hope you accept the assignment.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Setting goals using strong verbs
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture - Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week...

    Reading in context
    Making lists


    Making a list of strong verbs found in 2 Timothy
    Training your mind to be curious and ask questions while you're reading or listening to teaching
    The strong verb, "share." Share what? - 2 Timothy 1:8
    The strong verb, "follow." Follow what? - 2 Timothy 1:13
    How I was inspired by the lyric "soldier keep movin' on" that led me to 2 Timothy 2:3-4
    Soldiers endure great challenges and suffering to please their commanding officer. How much more will we as soldiers of Christ?
    Avoid getting entangled in civilian pursuits - 2 Timothy 2:4

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge
    Read 2 Timothy all the way through in one sitting. Then go back and make a list of the strong verbs that you see in this letter of instruction to young Timothy from his mentor Paul. Choose one or two "assignments" to focus on this week. These are instructions...orders from the Captain of our Salvation - make it your aim to please Him.


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    February 8, 2016 #103: "You Are Loved" by Stars Go Dim

    This week's song, "You Are Loved" by Stars Go Dim, has a simple but profound lyric that leads us to a conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. We don't stop there because Jesus uses an analogy that sends us scurrying to Numbers 21 and then back to John 3 to deepen our understanding of love and salvation.
    I was thrilled at the depth this week's study added to this song. It's so much richer every time I hear it now.
    On this episode I discuss:

    I know that God loves me because He tells me so in John 3:16 (and all through His Word)
    Tim Tebow and his influence on Google searches for John 3:16
    Taking B.I.T.E.s out of Scripture - Bible Interaction Tool Exercises this week...

    Reading in context
    Chasing down cross references


    Nicodemus - who he was and how he saw Jesus
    John Piper quote - "What happens in new birth is not merely affirming the supernatural in Jesus, but experiencing the supernatural in yourself." - Sermon
    Jesus comparing Himself to the serpent Moses lifted up in the desert
    Following the cross reference to Numbers 21:4-9
    Just look up and believe...He did not come to condemn you, but to save you - John 3:16-18

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Story Behind the Song - YouTube Video
    Tebow, John 3:16 Drive Internet Evangelism - Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Article
    "The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up - Like the Serpent" - John Piper Sermon

    This Week's Challenge


    I challenge you to become so familiar with John 3:1-21 that you can tell it by heart to others. Read this entire encounter with Nicodemus in context. Track down the cross references I mentioned and look up because you ARE loved.


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    February 1, 2016 #102: "Come Alive (Dry Bones)" by Lauren Daigle

    Why is easier to trust God for some things than for others? Do we believe He is all powerful or not? Do we trust His authority over our circumstances or not? God sweeps Ezekiel into a valley to show him the most amazing resurrection scene. This week's song, "Come Alive (Dry Bones)" by Lauren Daigle sweeps us into Ezekiel chapter 37 to encounter God's sovereignty as well.
    I can't wait for you to ponder this scene and discover the ultimate power of God.
    On this episode I discuss:


    How Scripture can remind us of songs and songs can remind us of Scripture
    How those of us with dead relationships, dead churches and dead communities can come alive - I mentioned this in Episode 97, too!
    The story behind the song as told by co-writers Lauren Daigle and Michael Farren - YouTube Video
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture with this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercise: Meditating on Scripture
    Referential representation - imagining in our mind what the words on the page represent
    My picture of the valley mentioned in Ezekiel - Ezekiel 37:1
    Another mention of a valley of death - Psalm 23:4
    The name Ezekiel used for God and what it means to all of us - Ezekiel 37:3
    Speaking out loud over our circumstances
    The part that was up to God, the part that was up to Ezekiel and the part that was up to the dry bones
    How God used the wind to breathe life back into the dry bones - Ezekiel 37:10-11
    Filling in the blank of what the dry bones represent in our own lives

     
     
    Additional Resources
    Lyrics
    This Week's Challenge


    Read Ezekiel 37:1-14 for yourself, of course! Meditate on the words. Visualize the scene. Ponder it. Journal about it. Then pull out the song and sing about it. Then you will know that the Lord has spoken.


     


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    January 25, 2016 #101: "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North

    Hearing the stories of others can give us hope and encouragement in our own struggles. This week's song, "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North, puts into words what many of us are feeling in our own wearying circumstances. This week we meet up with Jacob in the book of Genesis. I start to feel worn just recapping his life's journey!
    Let's see what we can learn from Jacob's encounter with God.
    On this episode I discuss:

    A video discussing the inspiration for writing the song
    A video journal of the lead singer of Tenth Avenue North examining a time in his life when he was worn
    Stating our sorrows, but rehearsing God's faithfulness
    Admitting our weariness in our circumstances, but confessing God's greatness
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture with this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercise of reading greater sections of Scripture to get the big picture
    A recap of Jacob's life...I got wiped out just reading the highlights!
    Jacob's experience with God in Genesis 28:10-22
    Jesus is the "ladder" leading to heaven - John 1:51
    Taking our hard places, setting them up as stones of remembrance and anointing them for God's holy use in our lives and His kingdom
    Taking ownership of our own faith 

    Additional Resources
    Lyrics
    This Week's Challenge
    Put this week's Bible Interaction Tool Exercise into practice and read all about Jacob in Genesis 25-35. It's a chance for you to take ownership of your own faith and see an example of redemption winning.


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    January 18, 2016 #100: "Awake Our Souls" by Tim Timmons

    Have you ever arrived to a familiar destination only to discover you don't remember experiencing the journey? "Awake Our Souls" by Tim Timmons is a cry for all of us to wake up and experience the Kingdom of God all around us! It inspires me to pick up God's Word and consider what it teaches about the Kingdom.
    God asks for our efforts to be focused on His agenda and His way of doing things. God's Word can teach us how.
    On this episode I discuss:

    The story behind the song - Tim Timmons on YouTube
    Getting to the heart...the true source of who we are
    Taking a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture with the Bible Interaction Tool Exercise of a topical search - use this free resource
    Not stopping at the short list of topical Scriptures...you must read them in CONTEXT
    Combating the lies of the enemy with the truth of Scripture
    Using commentaries AFTER you have read and considered God's Word for yourself
    Experiencing the Fruit of the Spirit rather than just the fruit of my own labor
    The story behind the album - Tim Timmons on YouTube
    Seeking first the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness - Matthew 6:33
    How the Kingdom of God doesn't look like I expect it to look
    When the King was arriving - John 12:12-16
    When the King declares His Kingdom is eternal - John 18:36
    How the theological truth that the Kingdom of God is eternal in nature changes my posture
    Allowing this week's song to be a prayer in our own lives

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Shattered Magazine Article on Tim Timmons and "Awake Our Souls" - Read the article here

    This Week's Challenge


    Start where I started with a topical search of the Kingdom of God. Download this week's free resource to walk you through the steps. Then progress to reading as much as you can on what Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God. Matthew 13 contains 7 different parables describing the Kingdom of God. It is a great place to start.


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    January 11, 2016 #99: "Just Be Held" by Casting Crowns

    When the storms of life come out of nowhere and send us titling out of control, do we hang tight or let go? Casting Crowns encourages us to let go and "Just Be Held." This act of surrender and trust in God truly means we abandon our own control, but does not mean that we will be out of control. God Himself can carry us through in His capable hands if we will let him.
    Paul's sailing companions learned this the hard way in Acts 27. Let's see what we can learn from their experiences.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Using published devotions to take a B.I.T.E. out of Scripture (Bible Interaction Tool Exercise)
    Casting Crowns' Thrive Challenge Devotion on this song
    B.I.T.E. of reading more Scripture

    Commit to a daily devotion and read the referenced Scripture out loud
    Progress to reading the referenced Scripture in context of the section it is included in
    Progress to reading the referenced Scripture in context of the chapter it is included in
    Progress to reading the referenced Scripture in context of several chapters leading up to it
    Progress to reading the referenced Scripture in context of the entire book (or large portion of chapters)


    Paul's journey leading up to Acts 27 - Acts 21-27
    The storm Paul and his companions encountered on a ship heading to Rome as a prisoner and how the sailors responded

    First they abandoned their purpose
    Then they abandoned the tools they needed to function
    Then they abandoned all hope


    My thoughts this week

    Stop rehearsing your sorrows
    Don't try to play out the entire story in your mind - trust God
    Sometimes it is your brokenness that will lead to your rescue



     
     
    Additional Resources
    Download the single by clicking the link below.

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge

    I encourage you to read Acts 21-27 and even beyond. Don't you want to see Paul make it Rome? Also, take my challenge to take baby steps in your regular devotion times to begin to consume more and more Scripture.


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    January 4, 2016 #98: "Soar" by Meredith Andrews

    Have you ever gazed at a soaring eagle? The eagle flies high above the world with a peace and perspective that we "land dwellers" do not share. This week's song, "Soar" by Meredith Andrews encourages us with the very words of Scripture. Let's swoop in to take a closer look at what else we can glean from Isaiah 40.
    Isaiah 40 begins the Book of Comfort. I pray that it brings you comfort today.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Reading Isaiah 40 in context - Isaiah 36-39
    Taking a "bite" out of Scripture using Bible Interaction Tool Exercises - B.I.T.E.
    The children's book set in the prophet Isaiah's time, "The Prophet, the Shepherd and the Star" by Jenny Cote
    The B.I.T.E. of reading with friends
    Matthew Henry's Commentary on Isaiah 40:1-2
    The B.I.T.E. of chasing down cross references
    How Isaiah 40 is referenced in all four gospels referring to John the Baptist
    How to straighten out a crooked path - Proverbs 10:9
    Following the cross reference from Isaiah 40:6-8 to I Peter 1:13-25 and a discussion on holy living
    The B.I.T.E. of taking Scripture and turning it into praise or prayer
    The Old Testament understanding of meditation being more than just thought life, but includes the spoken word - "Believing God" by Beth Moore
    How "wait" can be translated as "hope" or "trust"
    Considering how we can rise above things in our life and soar

     
     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge

    Grab your Bible and read Isaiah 40 for yourself! Follow some of the cross references and get a clear picture on how God is calling you to prepare your heart for Christ. Rise above your circumstances and replace false thinking with the truth of God's Word.


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    December 28, 2015 #97: "This Year (Happy New Year)" by JJ Heller

    It is the time of year when the crystal ball drops and the calendar is changed. This is definitely a season where we stop and reflect and consider what the new year will bring. JJ Heller's song, "This Year (Happy New Year)" is a terrific song to help us leap into the new year while we internalize a cry from Hosea and a dramatic ending of a season in David's life in 2 Samuel 12.
    We can learn from David as he journey's through a difficult season.
    On this episode I discuss:

    My cry to all of us for the new year - Hosea 6:1, 3

    Renew
    Know
    Strive


    My commitment to my third Bible Read Through...join me by signing up at KeithFerrin.com!
    The Bible Interaction Tool of reading in unfamiliar translations...I like The Voice Translation this year!
    Seasons that you don't know have ended until they're gone
    Seasons you can see coming to an end
    A preview of some of the seasons in David's life - 2 Samuel
    A tragic season in David's life and how he walked it out - 2 Samuel 12:15-23
    David's fanatical plea to God calling for His grace, mercy and intervention
    The difference between living WITH regret and living IN regret
    Seeing what is on the other side of this tragic season - 2 Samuel 12:24-25

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    JJ Heller Music Website with links to songs and lyrics
    Story Behind the Song by JJ Heller - YouTube Video

    This Week's Challenge

    It would be amazing if you would join me in the Bible Read Through. I won't even mind if you jump in and take a pass on my weekly challenges because you're reading so much during the Read Through! Otherwise, pick up your Bible and start reading in 2 Samuel! Start in chapter 1 and head all the way through chapter 12 where we were today. Consider how David ended this tragic season and what God might be asking of you.


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    December 21, 2015 #96: "Noel" by Chris Tomlin ft. Lauren Daigle

    When you drive up to a traffic circle and encounter a red triangular sign, it triggers a behavior to yield to traffic in the circle. If you're married and gaze upon your wedding band, it may trigger memories of your wedding day or perhaps just bring your spouse's face to mind. There are signs and symbols everywhere that prick our memories or guide our behaviors -- especially at Christmas. This week, we will use "Noel" as sung by Lauren Daigle on Chris Tomlin's new Christmas album to point us to the symbols of Christmas and Scriptural truth we can take with us all year long.
    Invest in some time learning Scripture references that the symbols of Christmas can spark in your mind for years to come.
    On this episode I discuss:

    What the word "sign" means in the Greek - Luke 2:12
    The symbols of Christmas and what they can point to in Scripture

    Christmas tree

    Evergreen tree points to everlasting life in Christ - John 17:3
    A tree reminds us to be rooted in Christ - Colossians 2:7
    A Christmas tree gives up it's thriving life to bring us joy and blessing in our homes just as Christ gave up His life for us


    Star

    The wise men from the east followed the star to find Jesus - Matthew 2:1-11
    The star led the wise men to Jesus. Who led you to Jesus?
    Wise men still seek Jesus


    Angels

    Angels appear throughout the Christmas story in Luke 1, Matthew 1 and Luke 2
    Just as the angel's role was to proclaim Jesus to the shepherds, our role is to proclaim Christ as well - Colossians 1:28


    Tree lights

    The lights brighten the dark shadows in a Christmas tree
    We are to shine like lights in a dark world - Matthew 5:16


    Candy cane

    Upside down it is a "J" for Jesus
    Right side up it looks like a shepherd's staff and reminds us that Jesus is our good shepherd - John 10:11
    The red and white colors remind us of Jesus' shed blood and His pure and sinless life


    Candles

    Jesus is the light of the world - John 8:12


    Ornaments

    Ornaments do not shine with their own light, but reflect the light instead
    We are designed to reflect the light of Christ - 2 Corinthians 3:18


    Snowflakes

    Snowflakes softly float to the ground - Be still and know - Psalm 46:10
    Our scarlet sins have been made white as snow through the sacrifice of Christ - Isaiah 1:18


    Holly

    The thorny leaves on a holly leaf can serve to remind us of the crown of thorns that tore into Christ's brow at the crucifixion - John 19:2
    The red berries again remind us of Christ's blood shed for us


    Stockings

    Stockings are for feet and point directly to the armor of God where we are taught that our feet are to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace - Ephesians 6:15
    Our feet should be bringing the good news and proclaiming salvation to all - Isaiah 52:7


    Gifts

    We can remember the gifts the wise men brought Jesus in Matthew 2
    Jesus is the best gift of all - 2 Corinthians 9:15





     
     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    The Legend of the Candy Cane - The Candymaker's Gift - YouTube Video
    The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg - Amazon
    The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Pat Matuszak - Amazon

    This Week's Challenge


    Read the Christmas story this week.  Read Matthew 1:18-24, then Luke 2:1-20, then Matthew 2:1-12 and you'll get it all in! If you're up for a greater challenge, take the list of Christmas symbols and the references found in this week's show notes and dig in!


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    December 14, 2015 #95: "What a Glorious Night" by Sidewalk Prophets

    Reviewing the Christmas story can warm our hearts with the familiar, but examining the characters in new ways can bring a richness to the story you may never have considered. Sidewalk Prophet's song, "What a Glorious Night," puts the shepherds (and their experience in the Christmas story) front and center. It gives us a unique opportunity to consider this repeated story in a fresh and exciting way.
    I pray my response to God's message will always be the same as the shepherds that glorious night.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Several of my favorite Bible Interaction Tools that make covering familiar passages exciting

    Remembering the characters are real
    Slowing down to ponder and meditate on the details
    Reading the same section of Scripture in a variety of translations
    Reading in context
    Reading/studying with others


    Considering the shepherd's 5 senses and what they may have experienced - Luke 2:8-12
    How to define the "radiance of the Lord's glory"

    AW Tozer devotion
    Quote from Nancy Guthrie's Family Devotional - Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room


    What we can learn from the shepherd's response to confirm what the angel said - Luke 2:15-16
    Thinking of the shepherds as the first evangelists - Luke 2:17-18

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics and Story Behind the Song - New Release Today
    Behind the Song with Sidewalk Prophets on YouTube
    Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians - by Thom Rainer - The Christian Post

    This Week's Challenge


    Read Luke 2:8-20 this week. Don't forget that the shepherds were real people, living in a real place, during a real epic event that impacts you and me for eternity. Consider what they may have experienced as you ponder the 5 senses. Slow down. Meditate on what you are reading. Read in a variety of translations. Read the story in context of all that came before. But most of all this week...if you use no other Bible interaction tool...read it and discuss it with a friend.


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    December 7, 2015 #94: "Just a Girl" by Brandon Heath

    How many times have we missed the miracle because there was "no room" for the inconvenient? The birth of Jesus was messy, and loud, and inconvenient, and yet some embraced it and some like the innkeeper sung about in Brandon Heath's song, "Just a Girl," missed out on welcoming the Savior of the World.
    I wonder how many miracles we've missed because we said, "no," out of inconvenience?
    On this episode I discuss:

    Traditions - how my family loves them and how they were instituted by God
    The perspective of this week's song as being sung by the innkeeper in the Christmas story
    What Scripture really says about the inn - Luke 2:1-7
    A quote from Brandon Heath on his perspective of the song - New Release Today Article
    How it was inconvenient for those in the inn to make room for Mary to have a baby
    What parts of God's plan for Mary's life were inconvenient - Luke 1:28-38
    How Joseph threw aside inconvenience to accept God's command - Matthew 1:18-25
    The inconvenience Jesus endured by leaving heaven to be born a human to save us from sin - Philippians 2:6-8
    The Parable of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:30-37
    Matthew Henry's Commentary on how "selfishness governs all ranks"
    A prayer to be wholly yielded to God even if it means messy, loud and inconvenient

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    About the Song by Brandon Heath on YouTube
    Behind the Song with Kevin Davis - New Release Today
    Unwed and Pregnant in Ancient Israel? - an article by Stephanie Landsem

    This Week's Challenge


    Dive into the Christmas story! Read Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2 for all of the epic details. Consider what messy, loud and inconvenient experiences God is asking you to yield to. Consider the parable in Luke 10:30-37 and in the words of Jesus, "now go and do the same."


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    November 30, 2015 #93: "Be One" by Natalie Grant

    The message of this week's song, "Be One" by Natalie Grant, challenges us to be a miracle in the lives of others. Instead of pointing our fingers at others and saying, "I need," we should raise our hands and say, "I will!" Deborah, in the Book of Judges was this type of person. What can we learn from her story?
    Also, Deborah's story ends in a song. I always love that!
    On this episode I discuss:

    Meditation and what Biblical meditation looks like - Psalm 119:15
    How Deborah is introduced in Scripture - Judges 4:4-5
    What it might have been like to be a woman in the social and political position she was in
    Understanding the environment Deborah served God in by reading in context - Judges 2:7, 10-16, 18-19
    That judges were placed in authority by God to rescue His people
    How God left hardships in place to test and teach His people - Judges 2:22-23, Judges 3:1-2
    Barak and his inclusion in the "Hall of Faith" - Hebrews 11:32-33
    The story of how God used Deborah, Barak and another woman, Jael to accomplish His purposes - Judges 4
    How the story ends with a song!

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    After a live performance Natalie talks about the story behind the song - Natalie Grant Sings "Be One" Live on The Wally Show - on YouTube

    This Week's Challenge

    Read Deborah's story in Judges 4-5 for yourself! Hopefully I've given you a few footholds to begin to scale the walls of Judges. You may even consider starting in chapter one and make your way to and through chapters 4 and 5! Don't just read it, though. Meditate on it! Think your way through the characters and their story.


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    November 23, 2015 #92: "No Man Is An Island" by Tenth Avenue North

    Community. It's a place where we have common interests and goals with other people. Once we are joined with other believers in Christ, we share the same Spirit and heritage. These truths are the foundation of the Scripture we will explore this week and are also found in the song, "No Man Is An Island," by Tenth Avenue North.
    This week we learn that we are not an island unto ourselves, we are part of something amazing...the body of Christ.
    On this episode I discuss:

    The poem by John Donne that the phrase "no man is an island" comes from
    One Body with Many Parts - 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
    The number and variety of the members of the body of Christ
    The various duties represented in the body of Christ
    The intimate connection the body shares
    The common importance of the members of the body of Christ

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Behind the Song - Air 1 Behind the Music on YouTube
    Behind the Song - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge


    Read 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 for yourself. Stay right there in the areas that talk about the body, or venture out into the gifts, roles and behaviors discussed in both letters from Paul.


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    November 16, 2015 #91: "Deliverer" by Matt Maher

    Music and lyric have always played an important role in helping us to remember. Sometimes I remember where I was in 1980-something just by hearing a tune waft through the air in the grocery store. That's powerful! The Israelites used a song in Exodus 15 declaring the wondrous acts and mighty power of their Deliverer to help them remember the details of that experience. We can use Matt Maher's song, "Deliverer" to direct us to study that same place in God's Word and then allow it to help us remember what we've learned!
    There are some powerful lessons in the song and this area of Scripture. Dive in today!
    On this episode I discuss:

    How quickly the Israelites freaked out after they left Egypt - Exodus 14:11-12
    Moses' response - Exodus 14:13-14
    God's response - Exodus 14:15-18
    A verse-by-verse break down of the Song of Deliverance in Exodus 15
    The importance of celebrating what God has done
    Where the resistance in our lives comes from

    Ourselves
    Our enemy
    God Himself


    A quick peek at part of Psalm 66...another song that remembers that glorious day

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Behind the Song - Matt Maher Share Your Story on YouTube

    This Week's Challenge


    Learn more about your Deliverer in Exodus 14 and 15...He's the same God! Then hop over to Psalm 66 and read it in its entirety. Spend some time meditating on the truths you see in God's Word this week.


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    November 9, 2015 #90: "Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin

    Think about the person you love the deepest. Are you picturing that person in your mind? Now think of the top 3 qualities you love about that person. What a great exercise to put into words why our feelings are so strong. A better exercise is to turn around and tell that person the top 3 qualities you thought of! This week's song, "Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin led me to consider why I think of God as my good, good Father.
    This song also leads us to Scripture to add more qualities to our own mental lists.
    On this episode I discuss:

    My story and why I consider God my good, good Father
    The exercise I went through to describe God's qualities most precious to me
    My list of God's characteristics and what they mean to me
    How the song led me to this week's memory verse - Psalm 18:30
    Considering God's perfect ways, His trustworthiness and His protection
    Adding characteristics to my list from Psalm 18

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Behind the Song - Watch the YouTube Video here

    This Week's Challenge

    Download this week's free resource and explore Psalm 18 where you can learn more about your good, good Father.


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    November 2, 2015 #89: "The River" by Jordan Feliz

    Are you setting yourself up to experience God on a regular basis with other believers? This is what I got out of exploring a brief story in Acts 16 this week, inspired by the song "The River" by Jordan Feliz.
    Like Lydia, down by the river in Acts 16, I pray that you will have an open heart to the life-changing truth of God's Word.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Some of the places in Scripture we could explore as it relates to "river"

    John 7 mentions rivers of living water flowing from within believers (this was the inspiration for Jordan Feliz, by the way)
    Psalm 46 speaks of a river whose streams make glad the city of God
    Revelation 22 talks about a river of water of life flowing from the throne of God


    Why I was drawn to Acts 16
    Background of Acts 16 and the city of Philippi
    The story of Lydia and what we can learn from her

    She made it her practice to gather with other believers
    She had an open heart to the truth of God's Word and the gospel message
    She invited other believers to "do life" with her



     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Behind the Song - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge


    Read all of Acts 16 and then go read Paul's letter to the Philippians. Why? Because everyone you meet in Acts 16 are "founding members" of the church at Philippi who Paul is writing to in Philippians. It will change your perspective to read it once you have studied the characters in Acts 16.


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    October 26, 2015 #88: "The Words I Would Say" by Sidewalk Prophets

    Our stories mirror the stories of old. So the words that brought comfort and direction to their lives can help us as we take each step of our own. "The Words I Would Say" by Sidewalk Prophets renders a tremendous amount of truth just in the chorus. Some of the very words spoken by God Himself to Joshua.
    Join me as we consider Joshua's experienced and how they may mirror our own. More importantly, what did God say to Joshua that we can learn from today?
    On this episode I discuss:

    The story of the daughter of a friend that could have been my own...could have been yours, too
    The elements of story that affects us and Joshua in the Old Testament

    Transition
    Identity development
    Failure of authority figures
    Failure of friends
    Faithful Guide


    Meeting Joshua in transition - Joshua 1:1-9
    The first mention of Joshua - Exodus 17:8-15
    The Bible interaction tool of referential representation - picturing in your mind what you are reading
    Seeing the disappointing actions of Aaron, an authority figure Joshua would have trusted and loved - Exodus 32
    Joshua's epic friend failure in Numbers 13-14
    The advice of Joshua's Faithful Guide - Joshua 1:7-9

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Behind the Song - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge


    I want to challenge you to read larger chunks of Scripture this week to get a better idea of the big picture. To really understand Joshua, you should start reading the book of Exodus. Don't forget, whatever happened to the "people of Israel" happened to Joshua.


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    October 19, 2015 #87: "You Will Never Run" by Rend Collective

    Have you been abandoned? Rejected? Falsely accused? Let me encourage your heart...that's not God's style. In fact, His Word is filled with promises that He will never do any of those things...even if those closest to you do. Rend Collective's song, "You Will Never Run" reminds us of this promise and drove me to Psalm 27 this week to see how David responded in these same circumstances.
    Interestingly enough, David responded like Rend Collective...in praise and singing, and leaves us with a bundle of verses/truths to mediate on.
    On this episode I discuss:

    If God will never run away, then where is He? Consider Psalms 139:5, Psalms 103:19 and Psalms 34:18
    When Jesus discusses how we are "forever" HIS - John 10:27-29
    God is not into playing games
    Even if those closest to you abandon you, the Lord will hold you close - Psalm 27:10
    What I mean when I ask you to meditate on God's Word
    Meditating on Psalm 27 - I unpack it verse by verse

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Behind the Song - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge


    While you are waiting for the Lord, rest on His promises and meditate on His Word. Read Psalm 27 every day this week. Meditate on it. Consider the smallest parts. And LISTEN for the Lord to speak through His Word and in this time of meditation.


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    October 12, 2015 #86: "Glow in the Dark" by Jason Gray

    Flashy sells. I get that. But consider a flash...it is a bright light that lasts for a moment. This week's song, "Glow in the Dark" by Jason Gray sings about shining right where we are. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, gives us some practical ways to do that over time...not just in bursts.
    Use this week's song to inspire you to read Philippians. I know this world is a dark place, but we're in this struggle together and God's Word has the power to change us from the inside out.
    On this episode I discuss:

    My process to write each podcast, which is what keeps me in God's Word each week
    The power of sharing what God is teaching you with others
    The verse in Philippians that inspired some of the lyrics in "Glow in the Dark" by Jason Gray - Philippians 2:15
    The value of vast amounts of resources that can assist us in our walk with Christ
    The warning that comes with the vast amounts of resources designed to assist us in our walk with Christ that can actually lure us away from reading God's Word for ourselves
    Matt Chandler's book "To Live is Christ to Die is Gain" as an additional resource in the study of Philippians
    The power of interacting with God's Word vs. just reading God's Word
    The idea that when you open the door to a dark room, darkness never floods the room filled with light
    The story behind the song - NewReleaseToday.com article
    The truth that we are in this struggle together - Philippians 1:29
    Focusing on the things we can control not on the people and circumstances we can't
    The conduct required of us as citizens of heaven - Philippians 1:27
    The list of do's and don'ts in Philippians 2
    How overwhelming this simple list is, but the promise God offers - Philippians 2:13
    Holding firmly to the Word of Life vs. holding firmly to our own ideas or positions

     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge




    Read Philippians. Read in a version that is easy to read (I like the New Living Translation.) Interact with the Word. Make a list of do's and don'ts in this section of Scripture. There is power in writing down the words yourself. Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Word and change the way you think and act. Ask Him to give you the desire AND the power to do what pleases Him. That is a prayer He will most definitely answer. And SHARE...share with someone else what you are learning. Sow the seed that has been sown in you.




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    October 5, 2015 #85: "Grace Wins" by Matthew West

    Right or wrong, I look at the world around me as if everyone sees it just as I do. I assume people know what I know. I expect people to react like I react...even God. This week's song, "Grace Wins" by Matthew West directly touches on how we assign character to God that does not belong to Him. The song also points us back to Scripture where we can see for ourselves the true characteristics of God.
    I am constantly needing a reminder from God's Word of Who He really is, lest I begin to paint pictures of my Father that distort His true character.
    On this episode I discuss:

    Assigning character to God that is NOT His
    Viewing God the way we respond vs. through the lens of the truth of Scripture
    The enemy's purpose is to deceive and to keep you from God's truth
    The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15

    I look at this same story from a different angle in Episode 61
    Lost people are not a lost cause to God


    The story of the woman at the well in John 4

    God is willing to meet us even as we are trying to hide from Him and others


    The story of the blind beggar in Luke 18

    God engages us in the midst of our circumstances and asks us what we want


    The story of the thief on the cross in Luke 23

    God doesn't see a "point of no return" in our lives


    Not only considering the characteristics of God, but examining the responses of the other humans in the stories

     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Story behind the song on YouTube

    This Week's Challenge


    Read Luke 15 and write in your study journal all the characteristics of God that you see in the parables there. On another day read John 4 and discover the characteristics that our Savior displayed write those down, too! Read Luke 18 and consider the clarity of the blind beggar and Christ's response. Read Luke 23 and explore the profound truth of God revealed in Christ's reply. Make the most of the stories we explored this week!


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    September 28, 2015 #84: "To the Only God" by Aaron Shust

    If you want a wonderful worship song full of Scripture and names of God, "To the Only God" by Aaron Shust is the song for you! If you want to learn three new ways to approach God's Word to inspire you to look at it in new ways, this episode of the podcast is for you!
     
    The Book of Jude is rich in application to our lives today. I can't wait for you to jump in with both feet!
    On this episode I discuss:

    The story behind the song as told by Aaron Shust himself in a YouTube Video
    The meaning of the word "Doxology"
    Christian music is not a substitute for reading God's Word for yourself
    The macro approach to reading Scripture - taking in the whole picture

    Using section headlines as a tool
    Warning about section headlines
    Describing the book in the time it takes an elevator to change floors


    The research approach - understanding the background to add richness

    Jude 1:5 - read Exodus as research
    Jude 1:6 - read Revelation as research
    Jude 1:7 - read Genesis 18-19 as research
    Jude 1:11

    Research the story of Cain in Genesis 4
    Research the story of Balaam in Numbers 22
    Research Korah's rebellion in Numbers 16




    The micro approach - focusing in on small details

    Take this approach AFTER the macro approach
    Breaking down the words in a verse
    Using the English dictionary as a tool (just as Siri!)



     
     
    Additional Resources

    Lyrics and story behind the song on Aaron Shust's website

    This Week's Challenge


    Read Jude! Try taking the macro approach and write an elevator summary and share it with a friend. Try the research approach and chase down some of those stories from the Old Testament that Jude mentions. And try the macro approach and focus in on a verse or two to ponder, meditate on, unpack, study and internalize.


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    September 21, 2015 #83: "Even So Come" by Kristian Stanfill

    There are many days when the moment my head hits my pillow the prayer that rises is, "You can come back any time now, Lord." This is John's sentiment found in Revelation 22:20 and the message of the song, "Even So Come" by Kristian Stanfill. This week we will explore a small part of what God's Word says about Christ's return.
    Although, this is one of my favorite topics to explore, the most important question remains...will you be ready? I have created a one page "itinerary" to guide you through 1 Thessalonians where there is a reference to Christ's return in EACH chapter!
    On this episode I discuss:

    The longing we should have to see Jesus face-to-face
    What Jesus says of His return in Luke 17 - Luke 17:26-30
    The writers of the New Testament were in the last days...we are in the last seconds
    Life will be "business as usual" on the day Christ returns...and that will be the scoffers strongest argument - 2 Peter 3:3-4
    God's timetable - 2 Peter 3:8-9 & Psalms 90:4
    Using cross references as a Bible interaction tool with the warning that they can lead to distraction!
    The meaning of the word "quickly" in the Greek when Jesus says, "Surely I come quickly" - Revelation 22:20
    God has already planned the day Christ will return because he declares the end from the beginning - Isaiah 46:9-10
    God has not kept Christ's return a secret from us - Amos 3:7
    Although the day will come like a thief in the night, believers will not be surprised - 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 & 1 Thessalonians 5:4
    We won't know the day or the hour, but we can know the seasons and the signs
    Every chapter in 1 Thessalonians mentions the return of Christ, so I created a free resource to guide you through that letter

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Inside the Music - KLOVE - Watch the YouTube Video here

    This Week's Challenge

    Download this week's free resource and explore 1 Thessalonians where there is a reference in every chapter to the return of Christ. By using this simple one-page resource, it will guide you through this letter to the Thessalonians AND it will challenge you to be prepared for your Savior's return.


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    September 14, 2015 #82: "From the Day" by I Am They

    There is an eternal hope that we can look forward to. Our salvation begins when we become followers of Christ, but it is a forever kind of salvation. "From the Day" by I Am They is a song that celebrates this salvation, but also leads us to exciting descriptions of what our forever-salvation will look like.
    I can't wait to share with you what I found in Scripture this week!
    On this episode I discuss:

    The story behind the song as told in an article by Kevin Davis on NewReleaseToday.com
    One of the key verses the band infused into the song - Isaiah 51:11
    When we accept the salvation our Redeemer Jesus Christ offers, we will enter the holy city crowned with everlasting joy
    Comparing Isaiah 51:6 to Revelation 21:1-4 and Isaiah 65:17-19 to see aspects of the new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem
    Comparing our current state where death, sorrow, mourning and sadness prevail with our eternal promise of joy, happiness and delight and the ABSENCE of the former
    The promise of restoration like Eden of old in Isaiah 51:3 and the description of an Eden-like environment in Revelation 22:1-5
    God's justice as a light to the nations in Isaiah 51:4 and God's presence as the new source of light in Revelation 21:22-23
    How we can enjoy hanging out with God in His Word even if we never have any wonderful "aha" moments of application

     Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Story Behind the Song - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge


    Read Isaiah 51 and Revelation 21 several times in several translations. Slip into Revelation 22 and explore the promised Eden-like environment and maybe even head over to the beginning of Genesis to compare and contrast. Get really clear on what is coming for those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life...perhaps it will help your current circumstances fade into the background in light of the brilliance of our forever with the Eternal.


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    September 7, 2015 #81: "Cast My Cares" by Finding Favour

    With all of the distractions around us, it is important to get really clear on what God wants to be the center of our attention. Like a fancy camera lens, let's focus clearly and allow the troubles of this world to blur in the background. "Cast My Cares" by Finding Favour leads us straight to 1 Peter and what God's Word has to teach on how to accomplish this clarity.
    Are you truly willing to trade the troubles of this world for God's peace?
    On this episode I discuss:

    The lyrics of the song that point to our memory verse this week - 1 Peter 5:7
    The Bible interaction tool of reading the entire text - watch the whole movie!
    The Bible interaction tool of listening to the text while on the go - YouVersion App
    The Bible interaction tool of prayer to ask God for His power to stay focused and understand
    The Bible interaction tool of reading out loud to remove distractions
    How Peter begins with the end in mind in his letter - 1 Peter 1:3-5
    What our center of interest should be...what should we be focusing on anyway?
    How do we get focused?

    Gird up the loins of our mind - 1 Peter 1:13
    Be sober - 1 Peter 1:13
    Rest our hope on the coming grace - 1 Peter 1:13
    Don't conform - 1 Peter 1:14
    Be holy - 1 Peter 1:16
    Be purified by obedience 1 Peter 1:22


    Some of the distractions Peter discusses in the letter
    The context of our memory verse
    A prayer of blessing over you - 1 Peter 5:10

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Story Behind the Song - New Release Today Article

    This Week's Challenge


    Read all of 1 Peter. Try the tools I used this week. Listen to the audio version of 1 Peter, read it out loud, pray before reading and try reading in a new version...or better yet, read it several times in several versions. I just scratched the surface of this powerful letter of instruction from someone who had suffered, made some pretty embarrassing choices and had matured in the Lord.


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    August 31, 2015 #80: "Beyond Me" by tobyMac

    "I have it all under control." That's where I like to be...or at least feel. But my Father wants me to trust HIM; He wants me to trust that HE has it all under control. That is why He allows so much of my life to be "beyond me." TobyMac's song, "Beyond Me" leads us to Jeremiah 33 this week where we explore a group of people in desperate circumstances "beyond" their ability to even imagine a way out.
    Let's see what we can learn about God as we dig in to God's Word.
    On this episode I discuss:

    The thrill of knowing that God has plans for me that are "beyond me" - Isaiah 55:8
    The comfort of knowing that even though my circumstances may be "beyond me", they are not beyond HIM
    The overwhelm I feel when I don't have everything under control
    Jeremiah's situation in Jeremiah 33 and the predicament of the people of God - Jeremiah 33 VOICE
    I consider how far "beyond me" God really is as found in Jeremiah 33:2
    How the people of God were taking pieces of their previous glory and way of life to build defenses to protect themselves - similar to a discussion we had in Episode 72 when we discussed Nichole Nordeman's "The Unmaking"
    The word "nevertheless" and what comes after it that puts God's nature on display as compared to our difficulties
    Being inspired to seek out a word that resonates and use it to jump into God's Word...for yourself!
    An article on the story behind tobyMac's song, "Beyond Me" and how it lead me to Jeremiah 33 - New Release Today Article
    How we must call on God as He commands in Jeremiah 33:3, ask Him and listen to what He has in store
    Reading in a different translation as a Bible Interaction Tool
    How we sometimes approach God's Word for answers and what we get is God's response..."I AM the answer!"

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    tobyMac himself on the story behind the song - YouTube Video

    This Week's Challenge


    Read Jeremiah 33 for yourself! Pray before you start and ask God to reveal anything in this text that may be "beyond" you. Practice active reading...reading slowly for understanding, revelation and application. Pull out your study journal and jot down questions, applications and all around interesting things you read. The last half of Jeremiah 33 that I did NOT discuss on today's episode is thrilling! I can't wait for you to read it for yourself!


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    August 24, 2015 #79: "Exhale" by Plumb

    What does your life breathe out? What is your exhale? Plumb's song, "Exhale" inspires me to breathe in as much truth, love and grace as I can hold so that truth, love and grace is what I breathe out. This week we explore the story of Rahab and discover what her life's "exhale" was.
    Rahab's confession was a declaration of her faith in God. What is your confession? Use this week's free resource to guide you!
    On this episode I discuss:

    The opportunity we have to respond to the revelation of God and to learn from the experiences of others
    Rahab's story as told in Joshua 2
    Rahab's confession to the spies - Joshua 2:9-11
    Rahab's choice to see God's works as a revelation of Who He is and Who He could be to her rather than something to fight against
    The free resource I developed to go along with this episode to help you dig deeper
    The story behind the song - New Release Today Article
    What Rahab's life "exhaled" or sent forth

    Salvation - for herself and her family - Joshua 2:12-14, Joshua 6:22-23
    Adoption - into the community of God - Joshua 6:25
    Legacy - Rahab was grafted into the lineage of Christ as Boaz's mother - Matthew 1:5

    I mention Boaz in Episode 13 and Episode 72 as well


    Example - of faith in action


    By faith Rahab was not destroyed - Hebrews 11:31
    Rahab's confession in Joshua 2 reveals God's revelation to her, but ultimately led her to action
    Rahab's actions are proof of her faith - James 2:25
    The Greek word dikaioó- cleared of all charges
    What will our life "exhale?"

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge


    Download this week's free resource and dive in to this story. By using this simple one-page resource, it will guide you to Joshua where the primary story is told, and then to Exodus and Numbers to see for yourself what Rahab and her people had heard about. Finally, it will help you examine Rahab's confession and guide you to make your own confession. I'm really excited about this resource for you, so don't miss out!


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    August 17, 2015 #78: "Brother" by NeedToBreathe

    Relationships. Can't live with them, can't live without them. This week's song, "Brother" by NeedToBreathe, leads us to discover some of the brother relationships in the Bible. Just like in the band, these relationships are not always smooth sailing. There is, however, a wonderful example of two "spiritual brothers" that is worth looking into.
    I can't wait to discover new things as we look at the friendship between Jonathan and David.
    On this episode I discuss:

    The story behind the song "Brother" by NeedToBreathe - Tennessean Article
    The free resource I created to help you explore the topic of "brothers"
    The 5 elements of adventure and how I relate them to interacting with God's Word - Source: MattWalker.com
    Meet Jonathon, son of King Saul - 1 Samuel 14
    Meet David, son of Jesse - 1 Samuel 16
    How alike David and Jonathan are
    The significance of the items Jonathan gave David in their covenant relationship - 1 Samuel 18:3-4
    What Jesus taught about spiritual brothers vs. biological brothers

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge

    You are welcome to explore David and Jonathan's relationship further by reading in 1 Samuel, but I have created a free resource to assist you in exploring Scripture by using the topic of "brothers". I've entitled it "Oh Brother, Exploring a Topic in Scripture" and it is a simple one page tool to help you get started. You will need to choose one or all of the examples I list of brother relationships...Cain & Abel in Genesis 4, Jacob & Esau in Geneses 25-33, Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 37-45 or the prodigal son in Luke 15. Follow the free resource, it will guide you through the process step by step...I even include an example. Ready to take on this week's adventure?


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    August 10, 2015 #77: "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman

    There are many more mundane moments in our lives than magnificent. This week we will take Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Do Everything" to point us to the book of Colossians and ponder what it may look like to "do everything as unto the Lord."
    How do you relate to my personal ponderings this week?
    On this episode I discuss:

    The story behind the song "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman - New Release Today Article
    Steven Curtis Chapman's inspiration verse for this song - 1 Corinthians 10:31
    Why I chose to study the book of Colossians instead
    Unpacking the lyrics of "Do Everything" to discover if you can see yourself in the lyrics, or if they inspire you to evaluate how you "see" life
    Doing everything for the Lord and not for men - Colossians 3:23
    The context of this instruction...it was directed to slaves - Colossians 3:22-24
    Feeling trapped by our commitments (chosen or not)
    Oswald Chambers teaching on the "shallow aspects of life"...what I am calling the mundane moments
    Scripture as the "movie version" of our favorite stories
    Will we be able to appreciate the magnificent moments if we can't see the value in the mundane?
    The confident hope that we have that brings meaning to the everyday - Colossians 1:4-5
    Recognizing what we learn and how we grow through the mundane moments of life - Colossians 1:9-10
    How these thoughts/teaching extends to what we SAY as well as what we do - Colossians 3:17

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Story Behind the Song YouTube message by Steven Curtis Chapman

    This Week's Challenge


    Spend some time in Colossians this week. It is just 4 chapters and has a WHOLE lot to say. Don't just read it quickly. I don't think it brings Him glory to read it and not remember what we've read 5 seconds later. So slow down and use three Bible interaction tools this week. The first tool is repetition. With a short book like Colossians you can EASILY read it in one sitting, so that over the course of a week you can read it several times. This leads us to the next tool to support the first - put on an audio version of Colossians as you're getting ready in the morning, on your commute, or during a mundane moment like a household task. Finally, after you have listened and read all week and made yourself extremely familiar with the text, then read it again in a different translation.


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    August 3, 2015 #76: "Impossible" by Building 429

    The song "Impossible" by Building 429 reminds us of an amazing characteristic of God...that He is all-powerful. In fact, Scripture makes it very clear that there is no such thing as impossible to God.
    Let's make sure we fully understand what Scripture is, and is not, saying about this. I can't wait to discover what it might mean for you in the midst of what you are dealing with right now in your life.
    On this episode I discuss:

    How our hearts are full of plans, but God's purpose prevails - Proverbs 19:21
    Some bad advice about what is and is not impossible and why
    How it was not impossible for God to make an old barren woman bear a son - Genesis 18:14
    How it was not impossible for God to fill an empty stream bed with water for a thirsty army - 2 Kings 3:18
    How it was not impossible for God to have a young virgin bear the Son of God - Luke 1:37
    How with man there are things that ARE impossible - Matthew 19:23-26
    How with God NOTHING is impossible - Matthew 19:23-26
    Jeremiah's confession to God that nothing is too difficult for Him - Jeremiah 32
    God's confirmation that Jeremiah is right...nothing is too hard for Him - Jeremiah 32:27
    Jeremiah's circumstance that seemed impossible that God declared possible for Him and a detailed description of how He was going to handle it

    Additional Resources

    Download the single 
    Lyrics

    This Week's Challenge

    Choose the story of Sarah and Abraham, the thirsty army, Mary the mother of Jesus or the rich young ruler to ponder the details of just how impossible their situations seemed and how God responded. Or dive deeper into Jeremiah 32. I gave you the highlights, but Jeremiah's situation was dire, his prayer is a great example to us and we learn a lot about God from His response. Just remember to align your purposes with God's then no matter how dire your circumstances seem to be you can be sure nothing is impossible.


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    July 27, 2015 #75: "Broken Together" by Casting Crowns

    The Bible has a lot to say about functioning in vibrant relationships. While the song by Casting Crowns, "Broken Together" speaks of a couple dealing with brokenness in marriage, we will use it to uncover some gems that will help us in ALL of our relationships.
    Great relationships (especially great marriages) don't "just happen." Allowing Scripture to define how we should treat one another is definitely the way to go! Along with the podcast I've created a resource to challenge you to "one up" those most important to you. Check it out here!
    On this episode I discuss:

    The "mystery" of marriage - Ephesians 5:31
    The Bible interaction tool of chasing down cross references
    Marriage is an illustration of Christ and the church
    The cross reference mentioned in Ephesians 5:31 that leads us to Genesis 2:24
    Asking questions like "what explains why" and reading Genesis 2:18-24 to discover the answer
    Finding a wife is a good thing - Proverbs 18:22
    Be sure to partner with fellow Christ followers in your most intimate relationships - 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
    What happens if you are married to a non-believer? Read 1 Corinthians 7
    Marriage is more than a promise or a contract...it is a covenant
    An example of God making a covenant with Abram - Genesis 15:7-18
    The history of the covenant
    What "made the difference" in my marriage
    The idea of outdoing one another in love (I've even created a free resource to explore this further...download it here)
    How we should treat each other - Philippians 2:1-4
    Allowing God's Word to define what marriage should be...not popular media (movies, songs and more)

    Additional Resources

    Lyrics
    Broken Together - Thrive Challenge by Mark Hall on YouTube
    Story behind the song in an interview with Mark Hall at Focus on the Family

    This Week's Challenge


    Allow God to change your mind...let His Words transform the way you think AND the way you act. To help us in this endeaver I have created a free resource this week called "One Up: Outdoing Others in Love". This resource will walk you through sections of Scripture in Philippians and Ephesians and help you identify the ONE THING you will choose to "One Up" the ones you love. It's a game of the heart...allowing God to change your mind.