Bible Study Resources

While there is no replacement for simply getting into the Word and reading it, sometimes it is nice to have some resources to help us along the way. Here are some resources that we love and want to share with you!

ESV Scripture Journals
These journals have the passage on the left page and a blank page on the right. You can use these journals in a variety of ways: Use them for taking notes when your pastor is preaching through a book of the Bible or when you’re doing a group study of the Bible. You could also use these during your own personal study through a book of the Bible. There is also plenty of room within the passage for marking it up.

You can buy the entire Old Testament or New Testament. Or you can buy the books individually!  

Video Series on How to Study the Bible 
If you are unsure of where to start with studying the Bible for yourself, watch this 5-day video series by Jen Wilkin on how to study the Bible for some helpful instruction! Essentially, she just steps you through the process of studying a book of the Bible.  This series goes along with Wilkin’s excellent book Women of the Word. 

Pilot Erasable Pens
Believe it or not, these Pilot Frixion Erasable Pens actually do erase! If you enjoy Bible journalling or using Journibles, you will enjoy these pens!

Daily Grace Podcast on “Highlighting” 
Highlighting is an easy, but intentional way to think inductively as you read the Bible. Listen to this podcast from the Daily Grace Co. on ways to intentionally incorporate highlighting as part of your study of the Word!

Bible Highlighters
Here are some highlighters that are special for using in your Bible, as they won’t bleed through the thin pages. (Note: The Daily Grace Co. is constantly having sales on these highlighters, so don’t buy them full-price!)

Make-Your-Own Bible Plan Generator
If you are wanting to keep on schedule with your Bible reading, but also wish you could have more flexibility with the schedule, here is a tool you may find useful!  With this Bible Reading Plan Generator, you can adjust what books you read, as well as the length of time alloted for reading.  Here’s an article by the author on how it works. 

We hope you find some of these resources to be helpful as you read and study God’s Word this year!

Bible Reading Plans for 2020

With a brand new year upon us, we have the opportunity to start fresh with our Bible reading goals.

Because reading the Bible on a regular basis is crucial for a growing walk with the Lord, it is often helpful to have a particular goal in mind. For example, one could have the goal to read through the Bible in a year. Or to read a chapter a day. Or to read the New Testament over the next six months. There really is no right or wrong Bible reading goal–the important thing is to be in the Word!

One practical way to help us stay on track in working towards our goal is to have a Bible reading plan. There are many, many different kinds of Bible reading plans–all one has to do is google “Bible Reading Plans” and there will be a multitude of options!

However, to help narrow down the options, we’d like to share some of the plans or approaches to reading the Bible that we’ve used in the past or would like to use this year.  

Infographic on How Long It Takes to Read the Bible
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of trying to read through the Bible (or a portion of the Bible), you will be encouraged by this infographic from Crossway on how long it actually takes to read through the Bible!  

Audio Bible 
While not a specific Bible reading plan, this is one way to immerse  yourself in the Word while you work on dishes or fold laundry!

Many Bible apps include a Bible audio feature.  However, if you don’t already have a favorite Bible app, check out Bible Gateway to download their free Bible Audio App.

The Chronological Reading Plan
Because the Bible isn’t organized in a chronological manner, this chronological reading plan helps makes better sense of the overall flow of the historical events of Scripture!

The Five-Day Psuedo-Chronological Plan
This is a plan that we haven’t actually used, but it has been highly recommended! This five-day plan is a slight variation to a chronological reading plan. One significant aspect of this plan is that it is based on a five-day week, which then gives you two days every week to catch (or get ahead)! Having two “free” days allows for some flexibility to do other reading or studying (such as homework for a weekly ladies’ Bible study).

Systematic Theology Reading Plan
This is a 30-day reading plan from Crossway that focuses on short passages that address specific doctrines, including the doctrine of Scripture, God the Father, Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, mankind, salvation, the church, and end times. Or, as Crossway describes it, it is a crash-course in systematic theology.

Knowable Word’s 90-Day Bible Reading Challenge
Reading through the entire Bible at a fast pace highlights the advantages of reading the entire Bible. Knowable Word has presented this challenge to read through the entire Bible in 90 days. If you finish reading the Bible within 90 days and by March 31, 2020, you can enter their giveaway of a ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set and a one-volume Reader’s Bible (translation of choice).

5x5x5 New Testament Reading Plan 
The 5x5x5 New Testament Reading Plan focuses on reading through the New Testament, five minutes a day, five days a week. It also presents five ways to dig deeper as you read.

We hope this has given you some ideas of how to be more immersed in the Word during 2020! If you already have a favorite Bible reading plan that you use, we would love to hear about it!

When and Why Jesus Came

We often have an image of the first Christmas as a peaceful scene, beautiful stars shining on a quiet night, shepherds serenely watching their flocks in beautiful green moonlit pastures and the people going about their quiet lives. When in reality the scene of Israel at that time was nothing close to peaceful or serene.

Israel was under enemy occupation, the culture was in turmoil, and the people under oppression. There was political unrest and instability with new leaders coming and going. Those in authority feared assassination by those hungry for power. Laws were imposed upon the people. The enemy built fortresses throughout the land, providing a visual reminder of their bondage. Taxation oppressed the people. Fear of slavery, imprisonment, loss of property or even crucifixion was real for the people of Israel.

It was during these dark days that God chose to send His Son to earth.

However, God did not send His only Son to bring physical deliverance from Rome’s oppression, or to rid the land of its enemy occupants, or to provide stability for the country, or to bring in an era of peace.

The God of the universe had the power to do all of these things, but what He came to accomplish was far more profound. It was something spiritual, something that has the power to affect every living soul individually.

Jesus did not come to overthrow His enemies; He came to save His enemies.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. (Colossians 1:21-22)

Jesus did not come to avenge those who had died by the hands of their enemies; He came to die for those who deserved death.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ( Romans 6:23)

Jesus did not come to free those in Roman dungeons; He came to free those who were slaves of their own sins.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
(Romans 6:22)

Jesus did not come to break Roman control; He came to break the power of the law of sin and death.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

Jesus came to deliver sinners from eternal torment and separation from God.

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)

Jesus did not come to usher in an era of peace; He came to offer peace with God to those who had wronged Him with their sin.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

Jesus came so those who were dead in sin could have abundant life.

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b)

Jesus came to make a way to enter God’s presence.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14, 16)

Jesus came to make a way for sinners to have fellowship with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (John 1:3)

Jesus came to offer rest to those who trust in Him.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus came to bring joy.

And now come I [Jesus] to thee [the Father]; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
(John 17:13)

The state of Israel during the era when Jesus came portrays a beautiful contrast to what He came to accomplish, not circumstantially, but in the hearts and lives of those who place their trust in Him!

We are often faced with trouble or hard circumstances that do not lend themselves to freedom, peace, rest or joy; but in Christ these things can be found no matter the situation!

This is why Jesus came!

Holiday Breakfasts

During this Christmas season, it is fun to make special meals for our friends and family. Here are some of our favorite breakfast ideas that help make holiday breakfasts to be just a little bit more special!

Rachel’s Coffee Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 25 Rolls

Dough Ingredients:
5 ½ cups flour, divided
4 teaspoons (2 packages) yeast
½ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
1 cup water
¼ cup butter, melted
2 eggs

Filling Ingredients:
¾ cup sugar (brown or white)
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
⅓ cup butter, melted

Glaze Ingredients 
2 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon maple flavor
¼ cup hot coffee

Instructions:
Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt; mix well.

In a saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until 120* – 130* (temperature is very important, please use a thermometer). Add to flour mixture. Add eggs. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed.

Gradually stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 – 8 minutes by hand or 3 minutes in mixer.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).

Prepare filling: Combine sugar and cinnamon.

Prepare glaze: Combine glaze ingredients, blend until smooth.

Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts. On floured surface roll each half to a 9×24” rectangle. Brush each part with melted butter; sprinkle filling and nuts (opt) over dough. Starting with long side, roll up tightly. Pinch edge to seal. Cut into 12 slices. Place in greased pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled (about 30 min.)

Bake at 375* for 20 –25 min. until lightly brown. Drizzle glaze over hot rolls.

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Candied Bacon

If you’ve never tried candied bacon before, now is the time to change that! My mouth is watering just thinking about this sweet and salty breakfast treat. ~Chrystal

I use this recipe from Simply Recipes:  https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_candied_bacon/

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Easy Egg Casserole

This recipe is extremely easy to whip up and makes a great addition to any holiday breakfast table. It’s simple and yet full of flavor. ~Chrystal

Ingredients:
1 pound meat (sausage, bacon or ham)
6 slices hearty bread (or bagel)
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 inch dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, cook the meat until browned. Drain.

Cube bread into bite size pieces.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper.  Stir in bread cubes and cheese.

Pour into prepared dish and bake until set and golden, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Easy Hot Cider

I was introduced to this delicious hot cider when I was in college and immediately asked for the recipe. It’s been in my brain files ever since and I love pulling it out to serve larger groups.  It’s the perfect warm drink for a cold winter day! ~Chrystal

Ingredients:
1 cup Red Hots cinnamon candy
1 gallon apple juice

 Directions:
Pour ingredients into a 6 quart slow cooker.
Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve!

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Easy Cream Cheese Danish 

I recently found this recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook. The last time I made it, my husband kept saying, “This is good! This is really good!” These danish are a yummy addition to any breakfast! ~Angie

Makes 4 Danish

Ingredients:
1 8-ounce tube refrigerated crescent rolls
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
8 teaspoons preserves of any flavor (strawberry, raspberry, peach, etc.)

Glaze Ingredients:
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 teaspoons milk

Directions:
Separate dough into four rectangles; seal perforations. On a lightly floured surface, roll each rectangle into a 7-in. X 3 ½ in. rectangle.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread over rectangles. Roll up from the long side; pinch edges to seal. Holding one end, loosely coil each roll.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Top each coil with 2 teaspoons of preserves. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan to a wire rack.

For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over warm rolls.

DIY Christmas Gifts

Looking for a DIY Christmas gift you can give to friends, family, teachers or co-workers? Check out some of our favorite DIY projects that you can easily whip up in bulk quantities to share with those you love. 

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Chai Tea


Every year my sister-in-law makes me this chai tea recipe for Christmas and I couldn’t be happier! The batches from her have gradually gotten bigger and bigger over the years because apparently all of my friends love drinking it too when they come over and I seem to be running out of it earlier each year. You can package the chai tea in a glass mason jar with a pretty bow if you are wanting to gift a larger amount or you can package them in smaller 2-serving packages (like the ones pictured using a treat bag, etc.) if you just want a little something to hand out at work, etc.

Ingredients:
1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
1 c. powdered non-dairy creamer
1 c. french vanilla powdered creamer
2 ½ c, white sugar
1 ½ c. unsweetened instant tea
2 t. ground ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground cardamom
½ t. ground nutmeg

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together. Use a food processor if finer texture is desired. Serve 3 heaping tablespoons with 1 cup of hot water.

Note: If you can’t find the required unsweetened instant tea in your local grocery store you can actually order it on Amazon and have it delivered right to your front door.

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Candy Sleigh

If you need something for kids (but really adults too!) this one is sure to please. Just gather candy canes and an assortment of chocolate bars/candy and start stacking! Use small amounts of hot glue to secure as needed, then tie it all together with a ribbon and top with a bow!

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Christmas Potpourri

If you want your house to smell amazing around the holidays then make sure you double this recipe so you can keep some for yourself! You won’t regret it. Package in a clear treat bag or mason jar. Attach a bow and the recipe/instructions.

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Photo Coasters

I’ve enjoyed making these personalized coasters for family members in the past. You can use personal photos for those you are close to or if you want something for your next door neighbor, teacher or coworker you can just use pretty scrapbook paper.

Either way, these coasters make a beautiful gift, are friendly on the budget and extremely easy to make! What’s not to love? Check out the link below for instructions on how to make some for your own friends/family.

 

http://www.cardstore.com/blog/how-to-make-coasters/

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Almond Biscotti

Giving someone the gift of homemade biscotti is a sure way to make them feel special. Tell them to sit down, prop their feet up and enjoy a hot drink while dipping this yummy biscotti into their cup.