Starting the Day Off Right

Stepping Out the Door In Well Read Shoes

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Another resolution that I have made for this New Year is to actually put some time into studying the Bible for myself.

But not only is my Father’s house a big, big house with lots of rooms…the Bible is a big, big book with lots and lots of chapters and verses and ideas.

Being a musician of sorts, I’ve been taught to “start at the very beginning”…when you read, you begin with ABC…when you sing, you begin with do-re-mi…when you study the Bible, why not start with Genesis…

So now that I’ve decided to study Genesis, how?!

Actually there are several different Bible study methods that have been used for decades, including…

  • Bible Doctrine Studies
  • Book-by-Book
  • Character
  • Life-Focused
  • Topical

 

1.  Bible Doctrine Studies…These studies place a heavier emphasis on theology by studying a particular doctrine. An example of a doctrine study in Genesis is What Happened in the Garden?...a book that offers scientific, literary, business, educational, and legal perspectives on creation…and how what we observe in the legal system, literature, gender roles, education, psychology, and science today are actually connected with creation.


2.  Book-by-Book...Book-by-Book Bible Studies move through a particular book or passage of the Bible in an attempt to understand…

  • background and history of the original message
  • events that take place
  • how the text applies to our own lives today
  • key themes,  topics, and verses
  • major principles, insights, and lessons
  • people mentioned in that passage
  • personal applications that are personal, practical, and possible

I am a big fan of Warren Wiersbe, author of over 150 books, and his Be Series  of commentaries on every book of the Bible. The first book about Genesis is Be Basic and studies chapters one to eleven.



3.  Character Bible Study
…A character study is the study of a specific biblical character person and his or her heart, attitude, personality, strengths, and weaknesses… how he or she thinks, feels, and responds to circumstances….one of the character’s quality traits that you would like to work on yourself…a situation similar to the one being discussed that is happening in your own life.

An example of this would be Noah: Man of Destiny,  a novel about the man who built a large ship and spent months caring for thousands of animal, but also stood against a sinister belief system emerging throughout the land, escaped legendary beasts, tracked kidnappers, and acquired the skills he would need when God called him to his greatest adventure.


4.    Life-Focused Bible Studies...These studies begin with real-life issues that are relevant today and seek to apply God’s Word to our lives in intentional ways. Many of these books share stories from real-life experiences, such as struggles people have faced in their own marriages, families, and work.

Live Relationally bKenya Heitzig is an example of a lifetime-focused Bible study on Genesis. This study studies of the women in Genesis who experience death, marriage, divorce, rape, and family tragedy…women such as the complicated Tamar and the often oversimplified Eve…women who are wives and mothers, slaves and owners, sinners and saints… 

 5.  Topical Bible studies involve choosing a specific topic, thinking of questions you’d like to have answered about that topic, and finding every single reference to that topic. An example of a topical study would be the ark…through books such as Inside Noah’s Ark: Why It Worked which show how the ship was an actual working vessel…and how a crew of just eight people could have housed, fed, and watered all of the representatives of the animal kinds.

  
 

Starting the Day Off Right

Encourage One Another

  

In this society far too many of us spend far too much of our time criticizing and complaining….and as a result, so many people and relationships are suffering from alienation, indifference, and even hostility.

And at the heart of this suffering is a lack of affirmation, appreciation, or even acknowledgement.

Many of us have been taught that affirmation is a humanistic, self-esteem, ego-boosting tool for manipulating others.

Yet appropriate affirmation motivates the other person, without fueling pride…and encourages with words that are thoughtful, intentional, and respectful.

Appropriate affirmation recognize Christ-like characteristics in others, as well as the work that God has done and is doing in the lives of the people around us.

We must always make sure to keep God at the center of our affirmations by following the biblical pattern of saying, “I thank God for you…” 

Affirming the work that God has done and is doing in others honors God so that the person is encouraged and God gets the glory.  

    Scriptures that demonstrate the purpose of building each other up include…..

    1.  Hebrews 10:24…
      

     2.  Romans 15:2 
      
    3.  1 Peter 3:9

    3.   
     
    Forty percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only about eight percent actually reach their goals. 
    You can spend way too much time analyzing everything, thinking about getting started online, reading every article and book in sight, and never getting anything done…but with all the available resources out there, you will probably still be trying to figure out where to start….and simply writing that New Hear’s resolution on a new list of resolutions in December…

    • “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” — Stephen King

    Even though you don’t have the perfect plan and are not sure exactly how it’s going to work out, the best way to learn is by doing….

    Regardless of the goal that you have set, there are many who, what, when, where, how, and why questions that you might ask yourself including…


    1.  WHO…Next talk to other people about your goals. This will make you feel both more excited and more committed.

    • Who benefits the most from me achieving this goal?
    • Who can help me achieve it? Who else is or should be involved?
    • Who else believes in me and my ability to reach this goal?
    • Who will support me? Who probably won’t support me? 

       
    2.  WHAT…First of all, write down specific goals that you want to achieve. Keep your list of goals in front of you. Frame them if you want.

    • What is my biggest passion and dream in life? What one wildly bold goal would I like to accomplish that would truly inspire me to get up each morning?
    • What do I want to accomplish? What will success look like?
    • What is the probability of ever reaching this goal?
    • What is the biggest obstacle hindering me from achieving my goals? 
    • What skills, tools, and resources do I need to acquire or master?
    • What is my next step? 

    Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” — Malala Yousafzai

    3.  WHEN…Focus on immediate tasks…only your tasks for today and the week ahead of you…so that you do not get discouraged or overwhelmed. Now, perhaps the most important task—get organized. Break larger goals into smaller tasks. Set up a plan or schedule. Break down the year into months, and then create specific action steps for each week. 

    • When can I find the time to do whatever it takes to reach this goal?
    • When would be a realistic time for me to have reached this goal?
    • When will there be enough information to know if and when I should set new goals?
    • When will I start working toward this goal?

      

    4.  WHERE

    • Where do I want to be this time next year?
    • Where will I acquire the necessary knowledge?
    • Where will my goal be accomplished? 
    • Where have I written my “chosen frozen” goals down so that they can become something tangible to focus on, evaluate, and refine on a regular basis?

    . “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” — Golda Meir

    5.  HOW…Choose appropriate milestones and benchmarks for your particular goal. Reward yourself whenever you reach a milestone or benchmark.

    • How will I benefit from reaching this goal? 
    • How will I stay focused during the process? 
    • How will the business be different one year from now?
    • How will this goal be achieved?
    • How does this deadline influence your daily activities?
    • How should I best spend my time, instead wasting time on unrelated, unimportant, non-strategic activities?

      

     “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill



    6.  WHY… Schedule a weekly check in with yourself. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Remind yourself why you set these goals in the first place. 

    • Why am I going to do this in the first place?
    • Why am I willing to invest time, energy, and money in doing this? 
    • Why is achieving this goal so important to me? 
    • Why is reaching this goal important? 

      

    My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”— Maya Angelou