Friday, February 16, 2018

Studying the Old Testament

I have been finding such delight in my early morning scripture study this year.  I have not developed a
love for the Old Testament like I have for other books of scripture, so I decided that this year my goal
would simply be to learn to love the Old Testament.  I know that it testifies of Christ, just like the other
books I love.  

I know there are stories of incredible and faithful people that I can learn from, but I’ve always struggled
to read and really dig deeply into the Old Testament. Even though we are early in the year, I can
honestly say that I am falling in love with the Old Testament. I look forward to getting up each morning so I can spend time studying, and often it’s hard for me to put my scriptures away and move on to the other things I need to do. 

There are a few resources I’d like to share with you that are helping me to develop this love:

Your Study of the Old Testament Made Easier by David Ridges. 

This study guide is in depth, well-written and researched and absolutely fascinating.  I read directly from the book and follow along in
my own scriptures, marking as I go. I am learning so much and never once have I found myself waking
up after “reading” half a page with no recollection of what I’d missed. I’m engaged and learning and
comprehending more than I ever have in previous attempts to study the Old Testament. I have all three
of his Old Testament books, as well as one specific to Isaiah and one for Jeremiah.

Walking With the Women of the Old Testament by Heather Farrell

My amazing friend Heather has done it again.  his absolutely gorgeous book is packed with insights into the lives and times of Women in the Old
Testament.  With breathtaking artwork by Mandy Williams interspersed with Heather’s beautiful words,
this book is an absolute treasure.

My scripture journal.

I am a visual learner, so writing things down is pretty much necessary for me to understand and
remember information.  I love adding insights and illustrations to my journal.  
(This is the one I use)  You can see more about the supplies I use here.

Emily Belle Freeman is sharing a beautiful study guide weekly this year.

 She also has a reading schedule to help you finish the Old Testament by the end of the year.  I must
admit that I’m struggling to keep up with her pace because I’m studying so in depth and reading so
much additional material, but it’s good to see how much I should be reading each day to be on track
with my goal. I also just finished reading her beautiful book 'Written On Our Hearts', all about
invitations found in the Old Testament.

I took pages of notes marked so many passages that it felt like I placed a book dart on almost every
single page!

Creating doodles and artwork for verses that particularly strike me.  I love to look through my
scriptures and see these little additions and remember the powerful words that stood out to me. I
usually create them using these Ergosoft colored pencils. Sometimes I doodle directly onto the pages
other times, for more elaborate pages, I trace images using my light box. (more about that here)

Some things to keep in mind when establishing a scripture study routine:

Find a time that works for you.  I am definitely a morning person.  All of the most important things I need to accomplish each day have to happen in the morning or it's likely they won't happen. But that doesn't mean early in the morning is the best time for everyone to study.  If you're a night owl, maybe late at night would be best for you, or even in the middle of the day, when your kids are away at school.  The point is, find a time that works for your season of life, your personality and your learning style.  And then study at that time EVERY day.  Making it an unquestionable habit is the easiest way to ensure that it happens daily.  It's too easy to put off otherwise.

Interruptions will happen.  You will miss days. And that's okay, you're not expected to be perfect.  Maybe you or your kids get sick, or you have a sleepless night with a newborn or a heartbroken teen. Maybe your three year old wanders into your room just as you begin to study and needs your help. Don't beat yourself up over missed days; just pick up where you left off and carry on.

It doesn't have to take long.  If you've got five minutes, make the most of those five minutes. If you've got longer, do the same.  It's all about establishing a habit and reading God's word each day.  The duration or number of pages matters less than the impact those words carry to your heart.

Ask questions and look for God's message meant just for you each day. You'll find that certain words stand out, certain verses speak directly to you just when you need them most.

I am so grateful for the inspiring messages of the Old Testament.  I can't wait to learn more.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

What I've been Reading Lately: February 2018

Today I'm sharing short and sweet reviews of the six books I've finished in the past month.  
What have you been reading lately? I'm always looking for recommendations!

The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This book had a very A Wrinkle In Time feel for me.  Kids and unexplained magic. Bizarrely creepy, but not over-the-line scary (for my sensitive soul) as only Neil Gaiman can be.  I wanted to finish the book to see how everything turned out, but it was certainly not my favorite.  My favorites of his, that I've read so far, would be Stardust and Neverwhere.

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

This was the first book I've read by Joshilyn Jackson.  I loved it! It was perfect airplane reading for our recent trip to Egypt.  Light enough to keep me interested with a lot going on around me, but it delves into some deeper topics (racism, parenting, love) as well.  Warning: very strong language at times.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I have been meaning to read this book for years, and I'm so glad I finally got to it.  It was more interesting and engaging than I was expecting.  Such a fascinating look at how we can improve our lives and ourselves by better understanding our habits and the triggers than lead us to poor decisions.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn has been recommended to me by so many people, but I didn't pick it up until recently. I must admit to judging this book by its cover (the first edition cover was really awful, the one shown above is worlds better) and thought that to enjoy it I'd have to be very into sci-fi (I'm not).  I'm glad that the new cover does the book justice.  The characters are well developed, the plot is intriguing, the take on magic is fascinating.  In this world, Magic operates logically, with well-established rules and structure.  Very well don and I'm sad I waited so long to try it. 


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I can't imagine this book needs any introduction.  I've read the first 3 Harry Potter books multiple times over the years.  And I read the later books eagerly as they came out, but I haven't been back to revisit them since.  I'm not much of a re-reader, but I felt it was time to enjoy the later part of this series again.  It has been about 18 years since I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire the first time (HOW is that possible?!). I listened to Jim Dale's recording of the audiobook (we're thoroughly devoted to Jim Dale around here) and loved it.  There was even a major plot point that I'd completely forgotten about so it was like I was reading part of the ending for the first time.  I'm going to slowly make my way through the last 3 books over the next little while; a little treat for my nerdy heart.  

One of my main goals for the year is to read the Old Testament and gain a love for it.  It's been many years since I've studied it and I'm finding such joy from diving deep into the lessons and stories it contains.  One way I'm gaining more understanding for it is through beautiful books.  Written on Our Hearts is one such book.  Emily Freeman does such a wonderful job of applying scripture to her personal, everyday life.  I slowly savored this book, wrote down many quotes, and gained so much insight from it.

Head to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more short and sweet book reviews.

*Links in this post may be affiliate links.  I receive a small commission (at no cost to you) when you purchase through these links. Thank you for supporting A Lively Hope.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Psalm 147:4 (Free Print)

"He counts the stars and calls them by name."

Based on Psalm 147:4, this beautiful print is a perfect reminder of God's love for you.

This listing includes three high resolution PDF copies of this image so you can print 4x6", 5x7" and 8x10"  files.

I used the 4x6" to add as a tip-in to my scriptures above.

Print 4x6" here
Print 5x7 here
Print 8.5x11" here

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