Random Ramblings Ruminations Resources

Random Ramblings, Ruminations, and Resources

Can you believe it’s been almost two whole years since I published a 4R?

Some of you are like, “What’s a 4R? Does it come with French fries or a house salad?”

No, silly rabbit. It’s just shorter than writing out “Random Ramblings, Ruminations, and Resources”. Try to keep up.

If you’re new to the blog or your memory is so terrible that you don’t have the capacity to commit every microscopic nuance of my blog to memory…

…I have a Google Docs file I’ve entitled “Scratch Pad”. Whenever I get a good idea for an article, I jot down the gist of it there. Then, when it’s one of those “meh” weeks when I’m not overwhelmingly passionate about anything in particular, or when I just want to address several small things rather than one big thing, I can thumb through those ideas for some inspiration. And sometimes, I throw in some announcements, updates, and other stuff, too.

So – if you’re tracking – 4R is basically stuff and things and whatnot and such.

And GIFs. Wonderful, wonderful GIFs.

OK, enough chit chat. Let’s get this party started…

Sold Out, But Keep An Eye Out

Finally. Finally, finally, FINALLY – hallelujah! – G3 Ministries is holding its first ever Expository Teaching Workshop for Women… and I’m sorry to tell you…it’s already sold out. Like, within just a few days of them barely announcing it at all. That’s how many godly women desperately want to be trained to properly teach God’s Word to other women and children.

Why am I telling you this if it’s sold out? Because I’m hoping G3 will continue to hold more of these in the future and I want you to be able to go! My advice? Connect with G3 (follow them on social media, get the app, sign up for their email list, etc.) so you’ll be one of the first to know when the next workshop will be held, and register immediately when it’s announced.

(If you managed to get registered for this one before it sold out, I will see you there!)

I Do It Myself

“I do it myself.”

Whether you’re a mom, an aunt, a grandmother, or babysitter, you’ve heard a toddler say this at some point. Maybe he’s trying to put on a sock, or she’s trying to fit a puzzle piece into a puzzle. We’re standing right there, ready and able to show them how to do it or do it for them, and yet, “I do it myself.”. That child would rather struggle with that sock or puzzle piece for five, ten, fifteen minutes than let us help.

Why?

Because that child knows something about life that we don’t know about Bible study. “I do it myself” brings with it rewards that having someone show you, or do it for you, just doesn’t. It brings with it the joy of figuring it out for yourself, the satisfaction of accomplishment, the firsthand learning that sticks with you that spoon feeding just doesn’t bring.

That child doesn’t want you breathing down his neck. He will fight you off if you try to help. Because he knows that “I do it myself” is better. That child grows past the milk of spoon feeding, and someone else showing him how, or doing it for him, to the meat of growing in maturity and independence and self-feeding.

Why is it that so many Christians never grow past the milk of someone spoon feeding them Bible study to the “I do it myself” of studying straight from the text of Scripture?

“I do it myself” is a normal part of child development. If a child never moved into the “I do it myself” stage we would consider that child unhealthy. We would take him to the doctor to find out what’s wrong. Why don’t we see that as unhealthy in our spiritual lives, in our Bible study lives?

We need to learn this concept when it comes to individual Bible study. Canned studies, a “mommy” breathing down your neck, showing you how to do it, or doing it for you, gets in the way of what you can learn – what God can uniquely tailor to you as an individual – when you do it yourself.

Yes, you may struggle. Yes, there will be trial and error. Yes, you probably won’t know what you’re doing at first. But that is part of the learning process. You can’t gain mastery of a skill if you never attempt to do it by yourself. And when it comes to mastering the skill of Bible study, the joy is not in, “Look at me, I did it all by myself!” but in, “Wow! God really did speak to me through His Word! Look how God has grown me! God showed me this great and amazing thing!”.

God gets the glory. We rejoice in His work in us through His Word. That joy is absent, and can never be achieved, when someone else is showing us how or doing it for us. It’s a joy we’ll never experience without “I do it myself.”

And speaking of Bible studies…

I know, I know, normally by this time of the year I’ve already started our new spring Bible study on the blog. That’s because, normally, sometime around October-ish, I’ve already prayerfully decided what book, passage, or topic the study is going to center on, and I’ve started my preparatory study and writing.

This year, for whatever reason God may have ordained, I have really struggled to settle down on the subject of our next study. I have been back and forth and forth and back in prayer about a number of different ideas.

Late last week, I started working on what I thought would be the right passage for the study, but it still just didn’t feel right. You know, like when you accidentally put your left shoe on your right foot? It’s still a good shoe, it’s just in the wrong place at the moment. And I started thinking… “What about a topical study on discernment? Maybe that would be a good idea.”. Several passages started coming to mind, but I didn’t have time to give it much thought…

…until a few hours later, when a reader emailed me looking for a Bible study on -you guessed it- discernment.

So I got up yesterday morning, and I started studying and sketching out an outline, and this time the shoe fit. I need a little time to study, so we won’t be starting right away, but our next Bible study will be a topical study on the subject of biblical discernment.

I debated whether or not to share that experience with y’all, because a lot of evangelicals would say that was “God ‘speaking’ to me”.

It wasn’t.

There was no Divine voice. There were no words. (That’s what the word “speaking” means. Words mean things.) God no longer talks to people directly the way He spoke to our fathers before us.

That was God answering my prayers for wisdom and guidance. That was God providentially arranging circumstances in His perfect timing. That was God helping me make up my mind.

God’s normal providence is wonderful.

Flashback (I hope)

Well, here’s a blast from the fairly recent past that ought to just bless your socks right off your little tootsies. Occasionally, I dabble (read: goof off) in various forms of creative writing. Here’s a little ditty I wrote (to be sung in your head to the tune of The Beatles’ Yesterday) a couple of years ago during that which shall not be named. Have fun. :0)

Quarantine

Quarantine

It’s a result of COVID-19

Stay at home and simply do nothing

Oh I am tired of quarantine

Quarantine

I can only see friends on a screen

But work is now a pants-less Zoom meeting

There are some perks to quarantine

Toilet paper’s gone

And from church we stay away😭

I’ve gained 20 pounds

From Netflix and snacks all day

Quarantine

Many weeks of social distancing

Wash your hands and cover when coughing

We’ll see an end to quarantine 

We will survive this quarantine😃

There’s a song in the air…

I really enjoy listening to these brothers. I get a kick out of the fact that they’re doing Southern gospel all the way over in India. (Maybe they’re in southern India! :0) But they sing other styles, too. Check out the Living Stones Quartet’s channel!

Holidays (Other), New Year's

Sanctification > Resolutions: 6 Ways God Could Sanctify You in the New Year

Originally published January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

There’s just something about the beginning of a new year that brings with it a yen for getting a fresh start. We think back over the past year, evaluate what we’ve spent our time and efforts on – or what we should have spent our time and efforts on – and, invariably, there’s a desire to make this year better.

Lots of people make lots of resolutions on January 1: to lose weight, to stop smoking, to exercise more. And by mid-February, some 80% of those people will have failed and given up on their resolutions.¹ Why? Partly because (statistically speaking) most of those people are lost and the flesh is exceedingly hard to tame by sheer “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” willpower. Even Holy Spirit-indwelt Believers can testify to the pull of the flesh.

Should we, as Christians make New Year’s resolutions? Is it OK to set a goal to get a certain area of our lives under better control? Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, is it possible there’s a bigger picture we need to take a look at?

Should we, as Christians make New Year’s resolutions? Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, is it possible there’s a bigger picture we need to take a look at?

The Christian life is not one of putting out fires via resolutions. We don’t tackle one problem, get it under control and then move on to each of the other five problems that popped up while we were working on the first one. It’s more like fire prevention. We get up every day and hose down the house and yard by resting in Christ, communing with Him through prayer and the Word, and seeking to obey Him throughout the day. Sanctification is not mainly reactive, it’s proactive. And it doesn’t come by our own outward effort and striving, but by Christ growing us, changing our hearts, and enabling us to obey Him from the inside out.

Sanctification is not mainly reactive, it’s proactive.

And guess what? Along the way as Christ is conforming you to His image, you’re going to fail. You’re going to give in to temptation, and you’re going to sin against your Master. But here’s what biblical sanctification offers you that New Year’s resolutions cruelly withhold:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

You don’t just get a fresh start once a year. You get a fresh start every time you confess your sin, repent, and receive Christ’s cleansing and forgiveness. You get the mercy of Christ, the grace of God, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to move forward in submission to God’s Word. You get the steadfast, never ceasing love of the Father who is out for your good rather than the unfeeling “do more, try harder, be better” taskmaster of New Year’s resolutions.

So, bearing all that in mind, how might God be trying to grow you in Christlikeness this year? What are some ways you can get up each day and proactively rest in, and obey Christ? Let’s prayerfully consider the following aspects of our walk and ask God to sanctify us and help us submit our will to His as we follow Him in this new year.

Growing in the Word

1. Daily personal Bible study. Do you set aside daily time for the personal study of God’s Word? Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover? Have you considered, maybe just for this year, putting away all of the Bible study books and materials authored by others and using only the Bible during the next 365 days of your personal study time? Evaluate your daily time in God’s Word. Here are some resources you might find helpful:

📖 Bible Study Resources (how to study the Bible)
📖 Bible Studies
📖 Bible Reading Plans for the New Year- 2023
📖 You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible

2. Scripture memorization. This is something God has gotten a hold of me about recently. It’s important to store up God’s Word in our hearts as a weapon against temptation, for comfort, for prayer, and to encourage others. Try starting with verses you’re already somewhat familiar with. Many find it easier to memorize Scripture in song form, or by typing it out. If your pastor is preaching through a certain book, memorize a verse or passage out of each chapter as he comes to it. I’ve found it helpful to recite my verses in my head in bed at night. It helps me fall asleep faster, and there’s actually research that shows retention is improved if you study right before bed.

🧠 Scripture Memory with Susan Heck at A Word Fitly Spoken

Growth In Prayer

3. Daily prayer time. Of course we should be talking to the Lord throughout the day as we go about the routine of life and work, but that’s not a substitute for having a daily block of time set aside for focusing all of our attention on communicating with God. Jesus set this example for us, and we should follow it. Do you have a daily time of prayer? Do you know how to pray in a way that’s pleasing to God and helps you grow in Christ?

🙏 Prayer
🙏 After this Manner Therefore Pray
🙏 Basic Training: 8 Things You Need to Know about Prayer
🙏 Sweet Hour of Prayer (Bible study on prayer)

Growth in the Body of Christ

4. If you don’t have a church, find one. Physically gathering with the Body of Christ for worship, teaching, fellowship, prayer, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, giving, serving – and so much more – is not optional. It’s vital to your growth in Christ.

 Basic Training: 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians
 Six Ways Not to Forsake the Assembly
 Searching for a new church?

5. Faithful church attendance. At a minimum, Christians should be at Sunday morning worship and Sunday School/Bible study class/small group every week unless Providentially hindered (circumstances beyond your control: illness, emergency, the rare out of town trip, occasionally having to work). That’s not legalism, that’s loving the Bride of Christ and having your priorities in line with Scripture. Contrary to popular metrics, habitually missing Sunday worship twice or more a month (when you could be there if you made it a priority) is not faithful attendance. If you’re lackadaisical in church attendance, examine your heart. What’s going on in your spiritual life that’s keeping you from wanting to gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ? (And if it’s a problem with the church itself, see #4.)

6. Don’t just “go to church,” invest yourself in it. Are you serving your church in some capacity? Do you regularly and fervently pray for your church, your fellow church members, and your pastors, elders, and teachers? Have you poured yourself into personal relationships with others at church for fellowship, care, and discipling? Do you regularly, sacrificially, and joyfully give offerings? Are you sharing the gospel with the lost? As with anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. God loves you and wants you to invest yourself in His Bride for His glory and for your joy.

⛪ The Servanthood Survey
⛪ Let Me Count the Ways: 75 Ways Women Can Biblically Minister to Others
⛪ Servanthood
⛪ Top 10 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor
⛪ To Tithe or Not to Tithe…
⛪ Evangelism
⛪ 10 Fun, Practically Effortless, and Free Ways to Do Missions and Evangelism

How might God want to conform you more to the image of Christ this year? Could it be in one of these areas? Maybe another area? New Year’s resolutions are often about how you want to shape your life. Sanctification is about how God wants to shape your life. Not just for the new year, but for eternity.

New Year’s resolutions are often about how you want to shape your life. Sanctification is about how God wants to shape your life. Not just for the new year, but for eternity.


¹Luciani, Joseph. “Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail.” U.S. News & World Report. December 29, 2015. Web. December 29, 2017.
Bible Study

Bible Reading Plans for the New Year- 2023

Happy New Year! Do you make resolutions or set goals you’d like to accomplish during the new year? A lot of people resolve to read the Bible more often or read it through in a year. If that’s you but you’re not quite sure where to start, here are some awesome and unique reading plans that can help. (Click titles for links to each plan.)

(Please note- I do not necessarily endorse all of the content of the websites linked below. These links are provided for Bible reading plans only. I do not endorse anything at any of these sites which conflicts with the theology outlined at my “Statement of Faith” and “Welcome” tabs at the top of this page. Should you choose to explore these sites beyond the linked Bible reading plans, please do so discerningly and reject anything that conflicts with Scripture.)

1. The Chronological Plan

I cannot recommend this plan strongly enough. You’ll read through the entire Bible in a year, following the events as they happened chronologically. I have been through this plan several times (I even took my ladies’ Sunday school class through it in 2014). It is wonderful for helping you see the big picture of the Bible as well as how all the little pieces of the biblical puzzle fit together.

2. 5 Day Bible Narratives Reading Plan and Family Devotional

You can use this year long, 5 days a week plan individually or with the whole family. It “focuses only on the narratives [stories] of Scripture, along with all of the psalms and proverbs,” and includes a 52 week catechism, a weekly hymn, and a study guide for each day’s reading. You can access the plan online, in CSV format, in Google Calendar, and via daily email notifications.

3. The M’Cheyne Plan

How about reading through the Bible in a year with your spouse or family (you could also do this one individually)? With the M’Cheyne plan you’ll read through the Old Testament once, the New Testament and Psalms, twice. Each day, you’ll read an OT chapter and a NT chapter as a family and another OT chapter and NT chapter on your own (“in secret”). Free Daily Bible study offers suggestions for making this a two or three year plan if one year seems too daunting.

4. The ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan

Read through the Bible in a year with four daily readings from Psalms / wisdom literature, Pentateuch / OT History, Chronicles / prophets, and the gospels / epistles. The plan is laid out on four printable bookmarks so you can keep your place as you read.

5. The 21-Day Challenge

New to daily Bible reading and don’t want to bite off more than you can chew? Try Back to the Bible’s 21-Day Challenge. Each day, you’ll read one chapter in the book of John, and in three weeks, you’ll be finished. It’s a great way to get your feet wet.

6. Tear Up Your Bible 2023

This 355 day, 15 minutes per day plan begins “the Old Testament with a summary, alternates between the Old and New Testaments, and takes you through the entire New Testament in the first 70 days. It takes you through the New Testament twice in two different orders.” The plan is free, but does require you to sign up with your name, address, and email.

7. The 90 Day Challenge

Another great one for those who struggle with long term commitment. “The 90-day Bible reading plan integrates readings from Genesis, the foundational book of the Old Testament, with the three [synoptic] Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. On one side you’ll see God’s creative work and earliest interactions with His people; on the other, you’ll get to know Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, fulfilling the promises made even in Genesis.”

8. Every Word in the Bible

Take time to slowly savor God’s word with this relaxed pace plan. Readings alternate between the Old and New Testament to keep you from getting bogged down in some of the more difficult sections. You’ll read through the whole Bible, one to two chapters per day, in three years.

9. 71 Days in Isaiah

“Carefully work your way through Isaiah in 71 days to experience the full impact of the prophet’s words.” Set up a free account to keep track of your progress.

10. John MacArthur’s Bible Reading Plan

If you like lots of flexibility and designing your own plan, this one’s for you. It’s really more of a guideline of how much of the Bible to consume and how to break it down. You handle the specifics. “Read through the Old Testament straight through at least once a year. About three chapters a day should get you there…When it comes to the New Testament…Read one book at a time repetitiously for a month or more.” Also includes Dr. MacArthur’s brief instructions on how to study the Bible.

11. The Five Day Bible Reading Program

“This special Bible reading system allows you to read the entire Bible (or just the New Testament) in one year while only reading five times a week. Five readings a week gives room to catch up or take a day off to focus on other Bible reading or spiritual disciplines, and makes daily Bible reading practical and do-able…The Old Testament readings [except Job] are placed as chronologically as possible.”

12. Daily Gospel Bible Reading Plan

“This plan focuses on the record of the life of Christ. You’ll read through all four gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John] in 45 days.” Set up a free account to keep track of your progress.

13. Navigators’ Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan

This one year plan takes you through the whole Bible with two readings per day. Begin at any point during the year with 25 reading days per month. “The first reading alternates between Old and New Testament books with the Gospels spread throughout the year. The second reading takes you through a chapter of the wisdom literature and Isaiah.” You can also alter this plan to a two year plan by using the first reading the first year, and the second reading the second year.

14. Chronologically Thematic Whole Bible Plan

The idea of this plan is to show you how the New Testament fulfills the Old. “Starting at Genesis 1, this plan moves chronologically through the Bible, but when a weighty person, place or theme is mentioned, other parts of Scripture are read alongside to go more in depth with the person, place or theme. Thus there are both Old Testament and New Testament passages all year, but they relate to each other thematically.” Unique to this plan are special readings for certain holidays, such as Easter, Christmas, Advent, and more. This is a six day per week plan if you wish to finish in a year, but it is undated, so you can set your own pace. Readings take approximately 30 minutes each.

15. The “How to Eat Your Bible” Plan

My friend, Pastor Nate Pickowicz’s latest book, How to Eat Your Bible, is a gem in the Bible study genre. This brief book is packed with great instruction on how to approach studying your Bible, and culminates with Nate’s seven year Bible reading plan, which you can customize.

16. Daily Wisdom Bible Reading Plan

“Find wisdom each day as you read straight through the Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon in 60 days.” Set up a free account to keep track of your progress.

17. 4-Month Layered Bible Reading Plan

Can’t wait a whole year to get from Genesis to Revelation? Would four months work better for you? In this fast-track plan you’ll do three readings each day: one from Old Testament history, one from Old Testament poetry / prophets, and another from the New Testament. Each reading takes about 15-20 minutes.

18. 31 Days to Know God’s Plan for Us

Though it’s billed as a plan for new Christians (and it’s certainly an excellent plan for that), this would also be a wonderful plan to work through to help you present the gospel to others, or to suggest to a lost friend who’s open to learning the gospel. Day 1 starts with the Fall of Man. Then you’ll work your way through OT passages demonstrating our inability to keep the law, followed by NT passages from the gospels and epistles detailing what Christ did for us and how that applies to us for salvation and eternity.

19. The 6 Month Challenge

“Over six months, this plan takes you through the New Testament from Acts to Revelation. This plan also integrates the worship and wisdom of Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes on a daily basis, for a balanced diet of instruction and intimate time with God.”

20. Bible Reading Plan Generator

This handy dandy little algorithm allows you to design your own Bible reading plan. You choose the start date, the length of the plan, your language, your favorite format, which books of the Bible you want to read, which days of the week you want to read, and several other options, and the Bible Reading Plan Generator creates a custom designed plan just for you.


Bible Reading Plans for Children

(Need recommendations for children’s Bibles? Click here.)

Depending on the age and maturity of your child (especially teens), I would certainly recommend any of the plans above or in the “Collections” section below. Perhaps you would want to start off with one of the shorter plans or one of the plans designed for new Believers or those who are new to reading the Bible. That being said, here are a few plans that are billed as being designed specifically for children:

Through the Bible in 20 Days– “…intended to be a child’s first exposure to regular Bible reading…geared toward ages 8 to 10. It includes twenty days of reading to be spread over one month, with five readings done per week.”

Through the Bible in 60 Days– “…designed to be a child’s second exposure to regular Bible reading,” this plan builds on the 20 day plan (above). “…geared toward ages 11 to 13. It includes sixty days of reading. This could be spread over three months, with five readings done per week.”

100 Day Summer Reading Plan– Though dated for the summer of 2021, this plan could be used at any time of the year. It breaks down the main plot points of Scripture into seven sections in case your child needs a break between sections. More info. here. (Please note I have not vetted, and thus, am not recommending anything on this page except the reading plan. Zondervan’s theology has been sketchy at times.)

Children’s & Teens’ Bible Reading Plans– Dozens of plans of varying lengths that will take your child through various books of the Bible, Bible overviews, topics, etc. Several of the plans have a few reading comprehension style questions for your child to answer at the end of each day’s reading. I was not able to vet all of these due to the sheer number of plans, but the several I checked appeared to be doctrinally sound. There are also helpful hints for encouraging your child to habitually study the Word. Carefully vet any of the additional or supplementary resources recommended before using them. I am recommending the reading plans only.

Be sure to thoroughly vet (for sound doctrine) any plan or website before assigning it to your child.


Collections of Reading Plans

Need more suggestions? Check out these collections of Bible reading plans:

  • Ligonier– A wide variety of plans, most available in PDFs.
  • ReadingPlan– There are literally hundreds of plans to choose from (there was no way I could vet even a fraction of them, so be very discerning) in this great little app. Download the one you like (Settings>>Reading Plan>>View Available Plans), set your start date, link up your favorite online Bible, and start reading. You can even sync and share your progress and set a daily reminder for reading.
  • ESV Bible– Here, you’ll find several good, “no strings attached” plans available in PDF format for easy printing. But if you sign up for a free ESV/Crossway account, you’ll have access to more than twenty great reading plans, many of them only 5-7 days in length. You’ll be able to read the day’s text, take notes, and track your progress, all online.
  • Bible Study Tools– Some awesome “start any day you like” plans, ranging in length from ninety days to two years.
  • Bible Gateway– Several great plans, especially if your church uses the Revised Common Lectionary or the Book of Common Prayer and you want to follow along at home. Log in each day and the selected text is displayed on your screen, or subscribe to your plan via e-mail. (Note: I would not recommend the Daily Audio Bible plan. It uses several different “translations,” which is an interesting idea, but while some are accurate, reliable translations (ESV, HCSB), others are faulty paraphrases (The Message, The Voice). However, many translations on Bible Gateway have an audio option, so pick another plan with a good translation and listen away!)
  • Into Thy Word– A number of diverse plans, including one in large print, from 31 days to one year in length. Available in PDF or Microsoft Word formats.
  • Heartlight– Five different one year plans that will take you through all or parts of the Bible. Daily passages are linked so you can read online, but translations are limited, so you might want to use the printable PDF guides with your own Bible.
  • Blue Letter Bible– Several one and two year plans that cover the whole Bible. Available in PDF format.
  • Bible Plan– Yearly and monthly plans, one chapter per day plans, and a few miscellaneous plans. Sign up for daily reminders for your plan via e-mail. These plans are available in many different languages.

Not Recommended:

While there are untold numbers of wonderful Bible reading plans out there, unfortunately, there are some I would not recommend due to their affiliation with certain unbiblical ministries or teachers. It’s certainly not unbiblical to use a mere Bible reading schedule (Day 1: read this passage, Day 2: read that passage, etc.) no matter where it comes from, but plans from the ministries below also have accompanying teaching or commentary that conflicts with Scripture:

Tara Leigh Cobble, The Bible Recap, & D-Group

The Bible Project


Additional Resources

The Mailbag: Which Bible Do You Recommend?

My Favorite Bible & Study Apps

The Mailbag: I love the Bible, but I have to force myself to read it

Nine Helps for Starting and Sticking to Daily Bible Study

10 Simple Steps to Plain Vanilla Bible Study

Rightly Dividing: 12 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Bible Study

Bible Book Backgrounds: Why You Need Them and Where to Find Them

The Mailbag: As a newly doctrinally sound Christian, should I stop journaling? (Taking notes on the text of Scripture.)


Which plan looks most interesting to you?
Have a plan you love that isn’t listed? Please share!

Christmas, Holidays (Other)

Have Yourself an Awesome Little Advent 2022: 12 (Mostly FREE) Advent Devotionals, Activities, and Resources

Is your family getting ready for Advent? Loosely defined, Advent is the period of time leading up to Christmas when we commemorate Christ’s first coming and anticipate His second coming. And what better way to do so than by making Bible study and worship part of your family tradition? Here are some awesome Advent resources for young and old alike. Most of them are free, but the ones that aren’t, I’ve marked with a 💰.

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December Advent!– Here’s an advent calendar, craft, and devotional all rolled into one! Naomi’s Table is a women’s Bible study resource that I highly recommend for sound doctrine and right handling of God’s word. Have a listen to their daily Advent podcasts and make the Advent calendar that goes with them!

Need a good Advent playlist? I’ve created one on YouTube. Your favorite Advent (not Christmas) song isn’t included? Leave a comment and I’ll add it if appropriate.

The Coming of the King– “For most of us, Advent is synonymous with Christmas. After all, don’t our Advent calendars count down to December 25th? Isn’t Advent a time to think about the birth of the baby in the manger, the angels and the shepherd? It certainly is. Advent means the coming of the special baby who was laid in a manger in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. But J.C. Ryle would also remind people of the ‘Second Advent’ when Jesus will come again. On that day, Jesus will return to our world, not as a baby but as the unmistakable King of kings and Lord of lords.” Twenty-five readings for Advent, by J.C. Ryle.💰

The Word Became Flesh– Make this album part of your family worship time, or just enjoy listening as you go about your day. R.C. Sproul narrates nineteen theologically rich, beautifully orchestrated and sung hymns and worship songs. Also available on Amazon Music, Apple Music, and on CD.

Here’s a different kind of Advent calendar that you and your kids can create together. The Names of Jesus Advent Chain is a 25 link paper chain that you create from a free printable. Each day, remove one link, look up the Scripture passage and discuss what that day’s name of Jesus means.

Advent Guide– “I made this 10-day Advent Guide specifically with busy families in mind…I wanted to keep things simple and focused mainly on worship, while also allowing time for a few of the very best Christmas picture books and a couple of fun Christmas traditions. You can start this guide at any time during advent,…and you don’t have to do it every single day in order to get through the whole guide. It only takes ten days.” Poetry, music, art, crafts, recipes, and more! Check out this Advent guide for busy families from Becky Aniol.

Hallelujah: Cultivating Advent Traditions With Handel’s Messiah– Love Handel’s Messiah? How about incorporating it into your observance of Advent? “With Hallelujah: Cultivating Advent Traditions With Handel’s Messiah, Cindy Rollins leads the way in building a rich Advent tradition for you and your family. Inside you will find: weekly Scripture passages, hymns, and poems, daily Messiah listening schedule with background information…Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany recipes…” and more!💰

Are you super crafty? Try your hand at this cozy Advent candle decoration. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need, or just substitute a candle, ornaments, ribbon, play dough, and greenery you have on hand around the house. (If you decide to tackle this one, send me a picture of your creation to share on my social media pages!)

Advent Bible Reading Plan for 20221– How about a family Bible reading plan for Advent? You can find two here, plus some fun facts about the history and tradition of Advent. One of the plans runs December 1-24. The other uses the traditional Advent schedule, this year, November 27 – December 24. You can also get a free, printable Advent banner and the plans in a printable PDF format if you choose to subscribe to the email list of this site.

1(The link above is provided only for the Bible reading plans.)

Names of Jesus Advent Calendar– These lovely cards highlighting the various names of Jesus could be a charming, interactive addition to your family’s Advent traditions. “I was tired of not having a meaningful calendar to use with my family during Advent. So I designed the Names of Jesus Advent calendar. I realized that going through Jesus’ names is a unique and interesting way to teach my kids more about Jesus’ life and character.”💰

The Magnificat– “Is Christmas really that important? Does the story of Christ’s birth really matter? In this sermon on Luke 1:46–55 titled “The Magnificat 1,” Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones preaches of the true significance of Christmas. Christmas is not simply to warm hearts, nor only to produce a cheerful attitude. Christmas is a time when believers in Jesus Christ must magnify the Lord their God. Through an explanation of ‘The Magnificat’ in Luke’s passage, Dr. Lloyd-Jones aids listeners with a rich and theologically profound explanation of Mary’s song of praise upon learning she is pregnant with Jesus.” Listen in to this wonderful three part sermon series by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Come, Lord Jesus– Explore this super Advent devotion with activities that Julie and her husband created for their sons. “…beginning December 1 we set aside time each day to open the pages of Scripture and read about a different person in the lineage of Christ…We also sing a corresponding hymn and listen to a section of Handel’s Messiah. To help tie it all together for young minds we put a tiny object representing each of the people we are reading about in a numbered envelope… Perhaps you too, would like to break through the distracting decorations, shopping sprees, and holiday havoc and join us in celebrating Christ’s first coming by looking forward to His second…” Devos and candles and coloring pages, oh my! (Be sure to click all the headings at the top of the page for all the devotions, materials, and instructions.)

What’s your favorite Advent resource?


1I do not endorse anything on any of these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs at the top of this page.
Titus Bible Study

Titus: God’s Order of Service ~ Lesson 7- Wrap Up

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Wrap Up

Questions to Consider

1. Was there anything new God taught you in this study that particularly impacted you? What was it, and why was it so significant?

2. How is your walk with the Lord different after this study than it was before?

3. What did you learn from this study about the nature and character of God?

4. What did this study teach you about the structure and order of the church? About the orderliness of God?

5. What did this study teach you about your role, function, and responsibilities as a church member?

6. Have there been any passages or concepts in this study that God used to convict you of disobedience and lead you to repentance? How will you walk differently in this area from now on?

7. Describe one specific, practical way you will apply to your life something you learned in this study.


Homework

Spend some time in prayer this week asking God to show you how to put into practice one thing you learned from this study.

Recite all of your memory verses from this study. Which one is most meaningful to you right now?