How to Read the Bible in a New Way

I loved God. I was serving in ministry. I was doing all the right stuff but I felt distant and parched.

I’d been reading the Bible because that’s what Jesus-following girls do. But I was tired of reading my same go-to Scriptures over and over. I wanted more. I wanted to dive deeper. I wanted the Bible to make sense and make a difference in how I lived my life.

I was desperate for a fresh experience with God and His Word.

If you can relate to feeling the deep ache of wanting more for your spiritual life, watch the video below…

(If you’re viewing this post in an email, click here to watch the video.)

Pre-order your Experience Guide today for our study of John and get it for a special price of $13! The 21-day study begins July 27. Click here to purchase your Experience Guide.

I can’t wait to take this journey with you!


Make Your First 5 Count

Have you ever felt something stirring in your spirit that wouldn’t go away?

I have one of those things on my heart right now. And it all started with my middle daughter, Ashley.

Ashley is a driven and responsible girl. Last fall, she went off to college and while she’s always excelled academically, the same couldn’t be said for her spiritual life.

As her mom, my heart broke over her struggle in her relationship with the Lord. I just couldn’t understand it — she grew up going to church, learned Bible lessons and saw my husband Art and me read Scripture each day.

But no matter what we did or said, we just couldn’t make it connect for her.

If you’re in that place right now with your child or in your own walk with the Lord, I understand. I think for Ashley, the Bible felt complicated and disconnected from her everyday life issues.

As I cried out to the Lord on behalf of my daughter, the word that kept coming to mind was poverty. Poverty might seem like a strange word for this situation but when I saw the lack of spiritual nourishment in Ashley, the parallels from physical to spiritual lined up.

I chased down this thought a little more — what causes poverty? A lack of access to what you need.

Ashley had “physical” access to the Bible. We have many copies in our home.

But she lacked “personal” access. She wasn’t personally digging into the Bible herself. Therefore it wasn’t nourishing her parched spirit.

So where was the disconnect? As I wrestled with this, God brought me to the book of Proverbs.

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding — indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).

There is one word in this passage that’s repeated over and over: understand! Solomon says if we want fear of the Lord and knowledge of God, then we will crave understanding.

That’s what she needed… to crave understanding of the Scriptures!

Meanwhile, at school, Ashley was invited to attend a Bible study. She was challenged by her leaders to spend the first 5 minutes of her day in the Word.

After admitting she hadn’t been reading her Bible and hearing many of her friends talk about the benefits they were getting, she finally gave it a try. Each day, little by little, her interest in the Bible grew. Her life and attitude was being transformed.

I recently visited her at college and could hardly believe my eyes.

She’s a completely different girl.

At one point during our time together, I asked her, “What finally made following Jesus wholeheartedly click for you?” She said, “Mom, I’ve made friends who love Jesus. I saw a joy in them that I wanted. So, I started doing what they do even when I didn’t want to. At first I thought getting up to read the Bible was unrealistic. But as I kept doing it, the Lord started changing my thought patterns. And when I started thinking about life from the standpoint of Truth, I had so much more joy.”

I can hardly type these words without crying.

As Ashley began to share with me what was happening, I also had a light switch go on. Her spiritual poverty was going away the more she personally accessed truth and gained understanding.

In that moment, the burden on my mama heart turned to a vision for a hurting world. What if Proverbs 31 Ministries could help every mom recommend a tool to really facilitate their daughters getting into God’s Word for at least 5 minutes first thing every morning?

What if we could bring the Word of God to college students, moms, daughters, business owners and grandmothers across the globe in a way that made the first minutes of every day life-changing? So, the minute they pick up their phones in the morning, instead of getting distracted by other things, they can get invigorated with Truth.

We must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world. Instead of immediately checking in with social media with the first moments of our day, we can truly make God first by giving Him our first thoughts.

With God’s vision and your help, Proverbs 31 Ministries is striving to eradicate Biblical poverty. And we want to start by developing a free mobile app called the “First 5″ to:

• Bring life and Truth to the First 5 minutes of every day.
• Provide a healthier alternative to hopping on social media in the first moments of our day.
• Give us the opportunity to share hope with the people in our lives who struggle with putting God’s Word first.

We need people whose hearts are burdened like ours to bring the Word of God to women across the globe.

Together, all hands in, we can change lives with the Word of God! Will you join me? I’m so excited to do this together. Click here for more information.


Afraid To Walk Across The Street

My friend Amy Lively, from The Neighborhood Café, is guest posting today! She’s tackling an issue that so many of us struggle with – breaking out of our comfort zones to reach people in our own backyards with the Gospel. I think you’ll really love the ideas she has. And don’t forget to enter her fun giveaway! Here’s Amy…

“I can do it! I can totally do it!” Someone had spoken life into one of my dreams, and for a few weeks I believed I could do it—I could actually start a neighborhood Bible study in my home. I would lure my neighbors over with coffee and cookies, then spring the Gospel on them—they’d never know what hit ‘em! I penciled the date for an Open House on my calendar, sketched out an invitation, and made lists of silly icebreakers.

This crazy idea rattled around in my heart… but by the time it bounced all the way up to my brain, I wasn’t so confident anymore. Could my little list of “things I’d like to teach about” turn into conversations with real women sitting around my kitchen table? What if no one came? What if everyone came? And then there was the mildly troublesome fact that I didn’t know my neighbors.

I don’t have time.
I’m not spiritual enough.
My house isn’t nice enough.
People don’t want to talk about religion.

My excuses were legit. I was busy working from home at our growing business while raising a family. I regularly fought with my husband, yelled at bad drivers (I love personalized license plates so I can call people out by name), and had never gotten around to memorizing the minor Old Testament prophets. My living room, with half-chewed rawhides poking out from behind the sofa cushions, is not Pinteresting. And, some people are a little uncomfortable bringing Jesus home from church.

There was nothing in the Bible telling me how to overcome my logical excuses and rational defenses. But there weren’t any escape clauses, either—and trust me, I looked! Not a single instance of “love your neighbor” was followed by “when your calendar is clear and your house is clean.”

“Please, God,” I begged, “Can’t I go to Africa instead? That would be easier than going across the street.”

Truth is, I was scared stiff—stiffly stuck in my comfort zone, stubbornly resisting God’s nudge out my front door.

My excuses were a thin disguise for my fears: fear of sacrifice, fear of humiliation, fear of being different, fear of rejection.

God never did magically eliminate my excuses, but He did ease my fears with sound scriptural promises about loving till it hurts (Ephesians 5:2), the difference between humiliation and humility (Proverbs 29:23), being weird (1 Peter 3:14-15), and pleasing God—not girlfriends (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

On the flip side of my fear, I found God’s faithfulness. He gave me Christ’s example to follow in my own neighborhood. He promised me honor when I submitted in humility. He offered a crown when others might offer criticism. He entrusted me with the Gospel not as a weapon, but as a way of life and love.

God’s faithfulness went with me as, knees knocking, I knocked on my neighbors’ doors. He led them back to my door, these women I never would have met had I not given into this scheme. We talked and laughed. Many became my friends as we continued to gather in my home every other week.

God broke my heart for my neighbors as I realized this was never about me—it had always been about them.

God’s faithfulness multiplied each hour I dedicated to getting ready; my productivity at work and home soared. No one asked me deep theological questions like, “Do pets go to heaven?” and some days they were a little irked at their families, too. They learned not to wear black pants around our yellow dog, and no one cared that Sara Lee made the snacks. And it turns out they needed Jesus in their homes just as much as I did.

Now when fear raises its ugly head, I remember how God proved His faithfulness as I obeyed His commands and believed His promises.

And this thing I dreaded—even as I was dreaming of it—became my deepest joy.

Would you like to turn your dread into joy by starting your very own neighborhood Bible study, but aren’t sure how?

Lively Post Pic

Today, I’m giving away three Neighborhood Café Kits that hold everything you’ll need to love your neighbors in a whole new way!

The kit includes a planning guide, open house invitations, leader’s guide, and more. To enter, leave a comment below telling me why you’d like to be a winner.

The first time I heard the words “neighborhood Bible study” was at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ She Speaks Conference. Each year as I’ve attended She Speaks and She Speaks Intensive, the Proverbs 31 team has stretched my personal faith and expanded my professional ministry. I have never seen so many beautiful women in one place encouraging one another without competing, generously imparting knowledge, equipping women to reach God’s daughters around the world. Read about it, pray about it—then GO TO IT! Click here for more information.