Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bible Study and Prayer Journal: Part 2

God's Words:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 
~2 Timothy 3:16-17

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law...Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path...Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
~Psalm 119:18, 105, 133

Welcome back for Part 2 of how to put together and maintain your very own Bible Study & Prayer Journal!  I am very excited to share these next steps with you.

In Part 1 we left off at assembling the Bible Study Section of your Journal binder.  So go grab the binder you started and let's get back to work!

Bible Study Section

After doing a little research on the best questions to ask oneself when studying the Bible, I put together this list of 4 questions and an ending application prayer.  Each of these 4 Bible Study questions alone will help you delve deeper into the meaning of the passage of Scripture you are reading. But when used altogether, the questions will give you a much broader, deeper, and more lasting view of what you are studying.

For example, have you ever rushed through your Bible reading time just to get it "checked-off" your to-do list, only to end up forgetting what you read later that same day? That's no good, is it?  Whenever I do that, I feel like I might as well not have even read the Word that day if I'm not going to take the extra time and effort to specifically apply it to myself and my life.  At times like this I feel just like the vain, albeit remarkably amnesic dude that James writes about:

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."  ~James 1:22-24

Nope.  That's no good at all.

Instead I want to be more like the blessed dude:

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does."  ~ James 1:25

Just as the two key Bible passages of this post describe, I truly do desire to have God's Word sink deeply into my heart and mind so that I can be blessed by it, meditate on, and allow it to light my life's path and guide me in God's way.  And I want to know my Lord and Savior better and find new reasons to fall more deeply in love with Him!

How about you?

Well, these 4 Bible Study questions and application prayer will help you do just exactly that!  I have been amazed at how the simple but profound questions have caused me to find new things in Bible passages that I've already read countless times before.

You see, they will help you look at Scripture in a whole new way.  And you will discover new hidden treasures in each Bible passage you read that you never even knew were there!

I just love how God uses His Word to touch me each new time I read a verse or passage; sometimes in a very different way than the previous time I read the same exact passage! Isn't God so amazing that way?

These study questions will also help you make a very personal application to your own life.  You will find that you'll actually remember what you learned in your reading so that you can continue to apply it in your daily walk.

And always make sure you end your Bible study time with an application prayer. That's when you ask the Lord to give you the grace and strength you need to remember and obey all that He has shown you in His Word that day.

Please keep in mind that actually writing down your prayer is optional, of course.  Some people find this step very meaningful and enjoy looking back at prayers they wrote to God.

Now If I wrote down every word of my Bible study application prayers to God, I would need more than 5 lines.  Just sayin'.  I'm wordy.  God knows this and still loves me.  But my writing hand is cramping up right now at just the thought of penning all my prayers.  Once in a great while I do, but only if I feel like it.

Therefore, you don't have to feel like you must write down your application prayer if you don't want to either.  I just included that in the Bible Study Journal Page as a reminder to definitely pray after your Bible study time because this is a very important part of the power of taking in God's Word.

I will admit that more often than not, my application prayer includes a confession of sinful choices I have made that He shows me through His Word that He wants me to stop - and stop it now.

This is the really hard part of Bible study...  It can be a rather painful business to read words of God that totally convict you.  Then there is just no longer any way you can continue to deny or ignore what God desires and commands for your life as His child.



But it's a good pain.  God wants you to get that sin out of your life, for your own good.  And also for the sake of your witness for Christ. Just as it says in Hebrews 12:10b-11:

"But God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

Whew.  That was deep!  Now back to your binder!

Please feel free to use the Bible Study Journal Page document I have already put together, which includes the 4 questions and application prayer.  Here are directions of how to access this document found at the link below:
  1. Click on the link below which will take you to Google Drive where this document is absolutely free for the public to use.  At the top of the web page there are several different options.  If you click on the "printer icon" you'll be able to print the document as I designed it.
  2. Or you may also use the document as a template to create your own personalized Bible Study Journal Page.  First, you will need to have Microsoft Word (or another similar word processor software).  Next, click on the link below which will take you to Google Drive.  Then click on the "download icon" at the top of the web page, which will allow you to save the document to your computer.  Once you open the document on your word processor, make sure to "Enable Editing", which will allow you to revise the template however you want to suit your personal style.  If you don't have word processor software on your computer, no worries!  You can simply click on the "down arrow" at the top of the web page, which will give you several more ways to use the document with "Connected Apps". So, for example, if you already have a Google Docs account, then you can open the document with Google Docs, which is basically a free online word processor.  It may not have all the bells and whistles of Microsoft Word, but it works great and it's free.  Gotta love free!
Bible Study Journal Page

There are actually 2 main ways you can use this Bible Study Journal Page:

1. You can print as many copies as you want and use them as your Bible study journal pages on which you will directly write your answers. There is writing space provided after each question and space at the bottom for a written prayer (always optional). The pages will just need to be 3-hole punched so that you can put them in your Journal binder.  This method is a much more costly way to keep your Bible Study Journal, since you will be using up lots of printer paper and ink. The cheaper method detailed below is what I prefer to use.  Now don't forget, I married a Dutch man.  That statement alone should be enough.  However, if you weren't already aware, Dutch people (and their married counterparts) just love to scrimp, save, pinch, and anything else we can do to our pennies to keep as many of them as possible to ourselves.

2. The Dutch Method:  Print just one copy of the Bible Study Journal Page (once again, card stock paper works best because it's sturdier) and insert it backwards into a 3-ring top-loading clear poly page protector, as shown below:

Whoa.  Wait.  What?!  Why on earth do you insert it backwards, you ask?

Good question!

For this method, the Bible Study Journal Page in the page protector will be your daily guide as you write your answers to the questions on the filler paper. It's simple really (although it didn't occur to me for at least a month of using this method that it made way more sense to put it in the binder this way).

As seen in the photo above, the Bible Study Journal Page should be inserted into the page protector backwards so that you can see the questions on the left side of your binder as you write on the filler paper, which is always on the right side of the binder. Make sense?  If not, I completely understand.  You'll get it sooner or later.  I did.  So there's hope for anyone.

Okay, now that we have all that figured out (or not), let's move on.

So each new day when you begin your Bible study time, you will flip in your Journal binder to where the page protector currently is.  It should be on the left side of your last Bible study Journal entry.

Take the page protector out of its current spot...

Move it past your last Journal entry and insert it to the left of a fresh new page of the filler paper as shown here:

Now begin by writing the day's date and the Bible verse or passage you will be reading that day at the top of the next blank page of filler paper.  Then go through all the questions as you read the verse(s), writing down your answers and application prayer (remember - optional!).

Well, that's it for the Bible Study Journal section!  I hope and pray that you find your Journal to be a huge blessing in your life, as I've experienced with mine.

Keep a look-out for the third and final part of this series where I will share the steps I've created to make your very own Prayer Journal section of your binder. I hope to have it completed by later this week or early next week!

Until then, enjoy digging deeper into the Word of God!  I am praying for you to grow much closer to the Lord each new day through your new Bible Study Journal.  And that He will open your eyes to see the wonderful things in His Word that He wants you to know. Wonderful life-changing truths about Him, about His promises, about who you are in Christ, and about His will for your life.  Truths that will train you in righteousness so that you will be "thoroughly equipped for every good work".  Amen.  God bless you, sister!

UPDATE:  I totally forgot to explain in this Part of the series why the pockets are useful in the Bible Study Section divider!  Whoops!  Find those instructions in Part 3.  Just scroll about two-thirds of the way down the page until you get to the bold, underlined heading titled "Bible Study Journal Divider Pockets"

In Christ,


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