Having a Bible Study Routine

Why It Is Important

Getting to know someone is a lot more than listening to someone else talk about them, or even having a discussion about them with others. And it is the same with Jehovah. Really if you want to get to know someone, to even become their friend, you have to spend some time with them.

Jehovah has made that possible by providing the Bible, a collection of books inspired by Him. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” So let’s talk about the word inspired for a moment. It isn’t like the movies here. Inspired here means that God either told the person what to say or He gave the person the specific thoughts and let them use their own words. But in every case it is God’s words and thoughts.

So why important? There is nothing Jehovah doesn’t know, including what is best for us. He created us and he knows what will make us happy. So getting to know him is really beneficial. But also he deserves the attention. In one way or another He is responsible for every good thing you have. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, coming down from the Father of the celestial lights, who does not vary or change like the shifting shadows.” So it’s from Him, and he deserves to be thanked, worshiped and given the attention of a friend and father.

Where I Struggle

I am an up and down student/friend/child. I will do really well with my studies, and then I will slack off. But then I catch myself and get back to doing well again. We are after all imperfect humans. Right now I am at the struggle stage, which is a big point of me writing this, I have to jump back on the wagon again!

What Is the Routine?

Getting to know Jehovah is an everyday thing. There is just so much to know, so much we need to know we have to stay at it. And we forget so easily and don’t always pick up on stuff the first, second or twentieth time, we have to do it again and again.

  • First and foremost is reading the Bible everyday. I just read a chapter, unless I’m on Psalm 119, then I have to break it down. Or with other chapters that are shorter I might read 2. But the point is never to just read, but to try and get something out of it. Ask yourself questions: What was this about? How could I apply it to me? Who in this reading might I want to imitate? or not imitate? Why did Jehovah put this in here? What does it tell me about Jehovah? And so on.
  • I also do a daily text from our Examining the Scriptures Daily book. A short text meant to give us something to think about each day.
  • Twice a week I do personal study. Once for me alone, and once as a family. Pick a topic, research it, discuss it. A great place to find topics and good research is jw.org.
  • Then I prepare for my meetings each week, that is twice a week as well. How might I answer the questions in the Watchtower or Our Christian Life and Ministry workbook. And when I am there, try to participate.
  • Reading the magazines. We now only release magazines once every other month. Those are only 16 pages long. So, it isn’t a big task.
  • Prayer. This should happen throughout your day, everyday. Pray about everything! Give thanks, ask for what you need, ask for help, share your thoughts and feelings. Jehovah is interested! He cares!
  • Last is to spend some time each day meditating on what Jehovah has given us to think about. This isn’t a time to clear your thoughts, it is a time to focus them. Pick a topic, scripture, concern, and just think about how Jehovah feels about them. Think about how Jehovah has or will teach you about them. Focus on that topic and Jehovah.

So no small task, but really it only need take up an hour throughout your day. Maybe on study days an hour and a half. If you plan well. And I promise, truly I promise, it will better your life.

Also I would encourage you to visit our meetings. Right now in many places we are no longer meeting in large groups, but if you request a visit someone will be in contact with you and if possible will help you attend a meeting. These visits may be by telephone if the corona virus has caused a need for social distancing.

Now it is time for me to jump on my spiritual work! I hope you will take some time to do the same.

Frustrated, Disappointed: Fresh Start Part 3

So it has been 4 weeks since I started. One week was very exciting and positive, since, nothing. In fact, with the exception of my neck everything I am measuring is exactly the same. My neck is a 1/2 inch up.

I have tried to stick to my “just plain healthy” diet, but I have for the most part failed. I am getting increased my protein, my probiotics, The fitbit is on again off again. It just isn’t that comfortable when I sleep. Yes I know don’t wear it to bed, but then I forget to put it back on. I haven’t had any alcohol, no great loss there, as I don’t drink much anyway. I’ve stuck to soluble fibers. I only have one sugary thing a day, hard to give up my iced coffee from McDonald’s. Exercise has gotten harder with the heat. I’ve decreased carbs I think. Except for some oatmeal occasionally, which is supposed to be good. Fish hasn’t been a big winner, I just don’t really like it. So I guess I need to look at taking omega-3. I couldn’t do the apple cider vinegar. Intermittent fasting flew out the window. And the green tea has been rare. So what it boils down to is I am just lousy at change.

I am also finding change hard in the other thing in my life I was trying to improve, my spiritual routine. The last 2 or 3 days I have done next to nothing. I decided I am going to start over when I mess up. So today we are on day 1 again.

I just really question how capable am I at change. What do I need to do to make it more important to me? I’m just so frustrated. I feel like banging my head on a wall somewhere. Sigh…will I ever win?

Israel: The Division of the Land; Joshua Chapters 13-19

This is one of the tough sections to read in my opinion. So many names that are very difficult to pronounce. When I read the Bible I try to engage myself as much as possible. I read out loud, so that is speech and hearing and then of course I am looking at the words. It is so tempting to start skipping names, I mean really what does this have to do with me? Well, today I figured it out.

For Jews it is very important to keep track of their history and heritage. In Joshua’s time on through to Jesus’ day they kept track because that would help lead to finding the Messiah. But even after all their records were lost in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. (A.D.) they kept up the records best as they could. In fact, before the internet and ancestry.com, if you wanted to try and trace your history one of the best places to go was to a temple or synagogue!

But as a Christian there is a great deal of meaning for me today! It shows how God, or Jehovah (God’s personal name; Ps. 83:18) acts. For example, the tribe of Simeon’s allotment was placed inside the borders of Judah. Why? Judah had more than they needed. So to keep things fair it was lessened by giving some to another tribe. So Jehovah is fair. Everyone gets their fair share. How wonderful! But still what does that have to do with us?

Many people don’t realize this, but the Bible teaches of a time when only righteous people (past and present) will live on the earth. And the earth will be a paradise, just as it began. Well, enough for me to say it, but better if the Bible does the talking here.

Earthly paradise proofs:

  1. Righteous people on earth: Ps. 37:10,11
  2. Paradise: No death, Rev. 21:4; No sick, Isa. 33:24; No blind or lame, Isa. 35:5,6; A resurrection, Jn. 5:28,29; No hunger, Ps. 72:16; Animals get along, Isa. 11:6, 65:25.
  3. These promises will come true. Why, they were what Jehovah promised in the beginning and God doesn’t change. Nu. 23:19, Malachi 3:6.

Now back to my original question, how does the account in Joshua affect us? Because what Jehovah originally purposed was an earth full of righteous people in paradise conditions, and because we can bank on that, there will come a time when we will have our own home on our own land. Jehovah will no doubt divvy up that land up in a fair way and I would count on our own desires being taken into account as well. Me personally, I want to live in the mountains. But, wherever he puts me I know he will have looked into my heart and it will be where I will be happiest.

So yes it is hard to read the names of those people and those cities, but it does help me keep in mind that when the earth is rid of all badness what we get will be good and fair for us.

For more Bible information, please visit jw.org. And please if you like this, share.

The Lesson of Pharoah’s Dream; Fat and Skinny Cows

So I was looking at my memories on facebook and 4 years ago I was reading about Pharoah’s dream of the fat cows and the skinny cows. This can be found at Genesis 41. I appreciated it as much today as I did then. Here is what I got out of it.

First the interpretation of the dreams (there was a dream about grain too but it had the same interpretation). The dream meant that for seven years there would be an abundance of food, thus the fat cows. Then for the seven years after that there would be famine, the skinny cows. In the dream the skinny cows ate up the fat cows.

Next, how I took this personally and want to apply it. I have three emotional disorders, PTSD, bipolar, and an anxiety disorder. So to me the fat cows are the good times. The times everything is running smoothly. The skinny cows represent the bad times. Times when I can’t get my act together.

Now, upon interpreting the dream for Pharoah, Joseph advised him to get someone wise and discerning to save up food from the good years to prepare for the bad. (the skinny cows eating the fat cows) I find that with my mental health, as well as my physical health I can do the same thing. When you have a good day, make a note of it. Do it in a journal, facebook, just find a way to make note of it so that you can go back and see it again during the not so great (or flat out horrible) days. This will lead you to reminiscing times that were good and changing your attitude to a more pleasant one.

Some people say the Bible is outdated and not useful for today. I disagree. Right here I took a Bible story, one that would seem to not have much relevance, and applied it to my life. I found quite a bit of value in it. So secondary point of this post is don’t disregard the Bible. It is useful for today’s world and today’s society.

Visit jw.org for more information on applying the Bible in your life.

Starting Fresh

So I have never been a healthy eater. That is even despite liking vegetables. Most things I like are not fatty. I do love my wrong grains. Most of the problem lately, lately being the last 15 years, is I have fibromyalgia pretty badly and generally I have a choice, cook and dirty up the kitchen or don’t cook and get the kitchen clean. Then there is the standing, I’ve tried sitting in the kitchen but I end up getting up and down so much to watch things it defeats the purpose. Exercise is very difficult for any decent amount of time and intensity is nil. So wah, wah, wah, and boo, hoo, hoo!

About 2 weeks ago I saw myself from the side…Accchhhhh!!! I am round! I have the belly I swore I would never get. I can handle the hips, I can handle the fatty face, the upper arms, the thighs, but NOT the belly! (And steer clear of my calves too.)

That all being said today I made a decision. I am going on a diet. Sort of. I did some research on websites that weren’t trying to sell me anything and made out a healthy diet list. This is not the latest fad, or a magic pill, it is just determination (so not good at that), plain healthy eating, and exercise.

So as for the determination, I have decided to approach this the way I quit smoking. I was studying the Bible at the time and I knew that Jehovah wanted me to quit. God does not want us doing things to our bodies that would hurt them. But I was so stuck. After trying several different things that did not work I went on the patch. Now keep in mind that is not ending an addiction it is changing the delivery system. But it did allow me to slowly decrease my drug dosage. And I did something else that worked like a charm, even under the most trying of circumstances, I prayed! It was a simple prayer that I just kept calling back to mind when I wanted a smoke, “Jehovah, please help me overcome my addiction.” Now repetitive prayers are really not what Jehovah wants in most instances. They become rote and lack meaning. But this prayer I meant with all my heart. And ultimately I quit and I haven’t had a cigarette in 15 years. Wow, didn’t realize it had been so long. So why not the same thing with my “diet” When I feel week I just need to pray, and to mean it. So that is my plan.

Plain healthy eating. For weight loss it seems to be increase fiber with vegetables, increase protein, eat fatty fish, eat soluble fat, probiotic foods (basically fermented foods), decrease carbs, no sugar so no sodas (that is okay with me…but my sweet tea!!!). A few things I am going to try though I don’t know if they will work are apple cider vinegar and green tea. Worth a shot if I can tolerate them.

Next is exercise. This is really a toughie for me. Too little and I get no effect, too much and I get immeasurable pain. So another plan, I am going to start with 5 minute walks 3 times a day. After a few days I am going to up it to 10 minutes. And finally to 15 minutes. They, whoever they are, say that 45 minutes a day is good for weight loss.

Lastly a few lifestyle changes. First is lower stress. Overall when left to myself I am stress free. But I certainly don’t want to isolate myself to achieve my goals. So I have to work on staying calm in social settings. Practice makes perfect, and breathing exercises help too. Tracking my food and exercise is another tip and with my fitbit I have it covered. I may have to take on some omega-3 as I don’t see me eating as much fish as is recommended. Intermittent fasting is recommended and I am going to see tomorrow if I can do it.

So all this sounds like a lot! And part of me says take it a little at a time. But I have never been good at a little at a time. I think I’ll do better if I hold my nose and jump right into the deep end. I mean I am capable of all of this i.e. I know how to swim, so what is to stop me except me?

My goal? Well, right now it is this stomach! I have to lose 9″ to be at the top end of acceptable so we’ll go for one inch at a time and aim for 9 to start. What a task I have set before myself! But Jehovah and I can do it and we will do it!

Gasping for Life

Had a nice thought last night. My dog gets the hiccups or backwards sneezes or whatever anyone wants to call them. They look and sound horrible, like he has had his air cut off suddenly and he is gasping for life. Whenever this happens I jump to his side and start to stroke him and try to soothe him so they will at least slow down if not stop. I felt so sad because I couldn’t, on my own, make them stop. He too had to act, he had to calm down and trust it would stop if he let me help him relax. Finally they did stop and I started to think about my reaction and my feelings. And then I thought about Jehovah.

When I am struggling, be it for hope or joy or patience or whatever I might need at the moment, but can’t find it, Jehovah jumps to my side. He is desperate to help. Now Jehovah can do anything so why is he desperate? In our lives he can only help us if we too take action. He provides us with everything we could possibly need, first and foremost His word the Bible. But so many other things too: broadcasts, meetings, literature, the elders, the friends, prayer, personal study! All of this has been given to us to help us when we are gasping for life. And you can trust exactly what you need is in there and Jehovah will guide you to it. But you have to act. You must or you will continue in your struggle.

Time in this system is short. Life is getting harder and harder and our gasping is happening more often. So we need to trust. We need to trust in Jehovah, that he has us and will give us what we need. But we also need to ACT! We need to pray, we need to study, we need to make ourselves firm in faith. Don’t give up when we are so close.

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