8 Tips To Go Deeper Into God’s Word

Until recent years, you could have found me approaching bible study like most women. I'd flip to a Psalm or open up a devotional and spend about 5 minutes trying to apply it to my life. I craved something more but just wasn't equipped to do anything about it.

While devos have their place, women would do well to strive for deeper immersion into the Word of God.

So, here are some tips I've learned over the years that I thoroughly recommend adding to your bible study routine.

 

8 Tips To Go Deeper Into God’s Word | www.maplealps.com
 

1. Pray.

Prayer is so important. If I’m being honest, though, it’s also the step I tend to forget about way too easily. When approaching God’s word, we can pray about the following things:

  • What book of the bible should I read?
  • Pray for understanding and wisdom at the beginning, and during your study as questions come up.
  • Praise for who God is and any attributes you see in the passage you’re reading.
  • Pray that God would reveal to you how to apply what you’ve learned to your life.
 

2. Don't toss out any books of the bible.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

From the seemingly monotonous genealogies to the Levitical Law, all scripture points us to the feet of Jesus and is applicable to our lives today.

Be open to every book in the Word of God. As Jen Wilkin says, "There are no pink parts of the bible." We need more than Esther and Ruth.

 

3. Park yourself in one book.

As women, we like to move quickly. We're always on to the next thing. This ought not be so in our time with the Lord.

Make yourself a student of one book of the bible for as long as it takes. Your goal is to find Jesus among the pages, learn more about God's character and allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the truths of Scripture which will shape you into Christlikeness.

This requires you to slow down. Take your time.

If this means you spend six months studying one book of the bible, that's awesome! Be okay with mulling over hard passages for long periods of time. In the end, you'll reap the reward.

 

4. Search out the context.

Context is key, y'all!

When studying a book of the bible, you must find the context.

Believe it or not, you can find out a lot about a book by reading it multiple times in a row. I do this by searching for information about the author, recipients, or themes I see and writing them down.

A decent study of hermeneutics will be super helpful for this. The bible is compiled of many types of literature, from poetry to letters. Knowing what kind you're studying will be helpful for how to interpret scripture.

Of course, there's also the option of a good study bible which has all of that information at the beginning of each book. However you decide, search out the context. This is vital to bible study and protects the reader from wrong interpretation of the text.

 

8 Tips To Go Deeper Into God’s Word | www.maplealps.com

 

5. Hold off on using a commentary until the end.

While study bibles are great for getting key information at the beginning of your study, commentaries should be used at the end.

When we use commentaries throughout our study, we rob ourselves of the chance to come to the correct conclusion on our own. There is so much growth that happens in the in between as we wrestle with the meaning of scripture. We're forced to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and shape our mind to understand.

I always use a commentary at the very end of my study to see how my thoughts line up with a trained theologian. If you're looking for a good one, Matthew Henry's is fantastic and it's available online!

 

6. Use different translations.

Whenever I come to a difficult passage to interpret, I like to read it in a couple other translations. This can be so helpful. But remember to use a translation and not a paraphrase. Typically, I use the ESV, YLT and NASB.

 

7. Define words.

Another good practice is defining words. I write down any word I don't often use or don't know. Look at the synonyms too. I can't tell you how many times this has helped me to better understand a verse.

 

8. Be patient with yourself.

Lastly, be patient.

 

You aren't going to understand everything in one sitting. Some days, you'll walk away from your study confused or even frustrated. Learn to embrace the discomfort of not understanding, knowing that in due time God will reveal to you the truths he wants you to know.

It's in those times where we trust in God, even when we don't see what his Word is saying. Our faith is stretched and we humbly accept that he is God and we are not.

If you want to read my bible study technique, you can find it here.

Be encouraged, friends. God is with you as you seek his face through studying his Word.


This was a guest post from Brittany Allen, who blogs at God's My Healer. 

I'm a follower of Christ and wife to James. I exist to bring God glory and pray my writing is an avenue for that. I long to encourage women to think and live biblically. I thrive on seeing women open up their hearts to The Savior and to other women around them.

Connect with Brittany:
Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter

 


 

Turning Twenty-Something

My birth date and I have sort of a love-hate relationship. I both dread and anticipate it every year. On the one hand, I become a year older (and perhaps a year wiser as well?), but on the other hand, I usually get showered with love and feel appreciated. What human doesn't appreciate some extra love??

In an attempt to do something a little different (if you were around last year, you saw my reverse bucket list), I decided to share what I did on my birthday. Unfortunately, my birthday fell on a Thursday: not only did I have work that day, but I had a job interview scheduled awkwardly in the middle of the evening. 

During work, my eyes started burning and my head began to pound. I started to feel feverish and just plain awful, so I set off to go home much earlier than planned. I figured that I would take some fever reducers and tough it out. If there was one day I needed to be on top of my game, it was that day.

Twenty-Something | www.maplealps.com

As I drove into the driveway, I saw some gold coming through the windows and got excited. My husband knows me well, and sure enough, as I walked in, not only had he strung gold balloons up, he had our family on Skype and FaceTime singing.

It's kind of strange I didn't suspect the latter, since I was on the phone with my mom and heard Skype in the background. I didn't really think anything of it though - just assumed it was the television or radio on her end. I did ask her what that "Skype noise" was, and she just said, "I don't know." She is a horrible liar. Always has been. Which I guess is a good thing?

By the time that whole ordeal was over, I was feeling pretty gross, so I took some meds, opened my gifts, posed with the banana chocolate chip muffin (my favourite!) and took a nap.

I'm totally spoiled and my husband knows me too well. These weren't even all the things I got! Thoughtful friends and family sent cards and flowers and gifts as too. 

After a surprise pottery painting ordeal, we went to one of my favourite restaurants to eat dinner and to a market to walk around before heading off to the interview. In hindsight, I should have brought the camera, but I was so out of it and so nervous, that it was the last thing on my mind. Those of you who follow me on Instagram followed along that day though! 

It wasn't even all over after that! It was pretty late by the time I got out of the interview, but my husband still had something up his sleeve. I seriously thought he was planning some kind of hike (don't ask), but when he pulled up to a roller rink, I had to laugh. While fighting a fever and the urge to sleep (I will enjoy my birthday, I told my body), we roller skated in circles until we collapsed. 

I did pay for it; I spent the weekend in my bed with a high fever. Totally worth it. 

I hope this next year treats me even better than the last. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did get the job! You'll hear all about that soon. 

 

Ever had to press through to make the most of your night?


 
 

Family Movie Night & The Best Topping for Popcorn

With summer upon us and school out, I feel I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. But not really. It's only about to get busier as the next couple of months are some of our most full ones!

A few days ago, my husband and I were reminiscing about childhood family-fun traditions we had growing up.  For me, it was getting take out some Saturday nights and getting to choose DVDs from Blockbuster (they still had those then!). It was always so fun and we looked forward to those nights as a family. Game night wasn’t as fun to everyone since there would usually be the more competitive of us left up at 2 am still trying to win Monopoly. Those games could last days, I tell you!

Family Fun & The Best Topping for Popcorn | www.maplealps.com

As we move on from participating in family fun nights to having to be intentional about planning our own, these fond memories still play in our minds. Even when life gets hectic, we know how important it is to set aside time to bond and relax. For us, a family fun night isn’t complete without some kind of fun food and an activity we can do together - whether it be a rad board game or a great movie.

When it comes to a fun movie night, we like to get creative to switch things up. Once we find the perfect movie (that usually takes a while), we start getting cozy. Sometimes we set up a blanket fort, and sometimes we use a projector to get a theatre-type feel. Blankets and snacks are a must, whatever we do.

We are pretty picky about the movies we decide to watch and always go for true stories that are inspirational. If you like a good family-friendly movie too, be sure to check out Pure Flix for some wholesome, Christian and educational movies. You can try Pure Flix free for a month, which is a good thing since it might take you longer to decide on a movie than to watch one!  You can pair your subscription with Plugged In Movie Reviews from Focus on the Family to get some in-depth and free reviews.

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And then, of course, we need snacks. We take snacks very seriously.

We LOOOOOOOVE popcorn. We recently got a new stovetop popcorn popper and it has been put to good use! I personally like sprinkling (okay, dumping!) nutritional yeast flakes on mine. If we have time, we even cut up some potatoes and throw them in the oven for homemade "fries!" Depending on the night, we might even whip up a homemade pizza or pop some frozen stuff in the oven. It’s a seriously good time. Here's what we do with our popcorn:

familyfunpopcorn-15.jpg
 
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • up to 1/2 TBSP olive oil (or vegan butter) 
  • a bit of salt to taste
  • nutritional yeast flakes (in my opinion, you can never have to much, so it's up to how much you want!)

1) Pop your popcorn by whatever means you do so (we have a stovetop popper right now, but I do love air poppers!)

2) Add (sparingly) your olive oil or vegan butter and sprinkle a bit of salt

3) Go to town with adding your nutritional yeast flakes :) 

Now that it’s summer, we hope to spend more time outside on the porch or around the fire pit making s’mores and roasting hot dogs. It's so much fun just hanging out outside and enjoying the heat of the fire.

Family Fun & The Best Topping for Popcorn | www.maplealps.com

Hope you've been inspired to set some time aside to enjoy an evening with your loved ones. I’ve decided to share some favourites with you so you can get started right away with your family-fun movie night - and don’t forget the popcorn! I'd love to hear about your family fun nights too!

Family Fun & The Best Topping for Popcorn | www.maplealps.com
 
 

What do you do for family fun? I'd love to hear about it!


 
 

Apps and Extensions I Use to Save Money

I’ve been seeing articles all over the internet about apps that save you money. If you know me, or have been reading this blog for a while, you know I like saving money, so I’ve been guilty of having a lot of “money-saving” apps on my phone’s home screen. Over the years, however, I have weeded out and chosen my favourites, and today I decided to share with you my tried and true apps that I use almost every day. No one has paid me to share this with you, and even if they did, I only share things I truly love and think will enhance your life. I have included some referral links that will benefit you, however!

Great apps to use to save money! So glad I came across this article! | www.maplealps.com
 

Ibotta

Ibotta has been a great money-saver for me! I always check it before heading out to shop - and even when I get home. The best part is that it doesn’t only qualify for groceries: since there are so many different stores and offers available, I can support my yarn addiction and my husband gets his electronic fix while we save money! Check out Ibotta here and use my referral link to get $10!

 

Cartwheel

Cartwheel is a target app. On it, you’ll find coupons in every category and as of late, you can collect points that go toward some pretty fabulous prizes. If you have a RED card, the savings add to the extra 5% you get off, so I think it’s a win.

 

Checkout51

Similar to Ibotta, Checkout51 is a rebate app. You scan your receipt after you are done shopping, and you’re good to go. This one takes longer for me to collect money since I do not buy a lot of processed food, but I still slowly collect on produce. So far, I have gotten a few cheques from this app, so I know it’s legit, and an extra $20 here and there isn’t too bad either.

 

GasBuddy

GasBuddy has saved me a lot of money on gas. With a quick tap of the screen, you can find all the gas stations nearby with current prices updated by other users. I like helping to keep the app updated and accurate by verifying gas prices and fixing the ones that have changed.

 

Honey

Honey is a Chrome extension that has seriously changed my life. Instead of googling online coupons (that may or may not work), Honey automatically finds them for you. Not only that, but they also have a cashback rewards program that can be used to redeem Amazon gift cards. I never found an Amazon gift card I couldn’t use! Try Honey today by using my referral link: here.

 

Ebates

This one is not a new one, but it’s new to me. It took me a while to figure out, but once I did, I was really happy I had, and wished I would have taken it more seriously sooner! You can also have this as a chrome extension. Find rebates on almost everything you buy on the internet - from Amazon and Etsy purchases to booking hotels and rental cars (that’s where I make the most of the money!). The extension will automatically recognize the page you’re on, and ask if you would like to use the cash back options. It’s great, especially when you were going to spend the money anyway. Why not get some back? Check out Ebates here and use my referral link here to get a bonus $10!

 

Swagbucks

I started using Swagbucks my freshman year in college. It's basically a search engine that wins you money. Honestly, it used to be more awesome than it is now and I used it to get hundreds of dollars worth of Amazon gift cards. Though I don't use it as much now, I do use some of the features, like searching and the occasional survey when I want. They also have a ton of great informative videos to watch, and I check those out once in a while to get some points. It's my default search engine that wins me free money! They also have a similar program like Ebates to get rebates on certain deals. If you're going to buy something anyway, why not get some money back? Use my referral link to try it for free today!

 

Do you use any apps or extensions to save you money? Any of these ones? I'm always looking for more ways to save, so tell me in the comments below about your favourite apps to save you money!


 

Easy Enchilada Sauce

I've been conjuring up all sorts of sauces lately. I've always been a gravy-type food fan, so it's only natural that I love all sorts of sauces. 

The other day, I was cooking up some dinners I had frozen and came across some enchiladas. They were so sad there in the bottom of the freezer, so of course, I had to whip up some sauce to bake them in.

Enchilada Sauce | www.maplealps.com

I have a sauce that I usually make, but I was feeling a little adventurous, so I changed it up a bit. This one is a little thicker and a little spicier. Yes, it's very similar with one added ingredient, and I like it a little more!

Best part? Freezer friendly!

Related: Spinach & Black Bean Enchiladas

Enchilada Sauce | www.maplealps.com

Enchilada Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 1/2 TBSP white whole wheat flour
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 1/2 Cups vegetable stock
  • 6 Ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Sprinkle flour over oil and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in chili powder and tomato paste and continue to cook for another 30 seconds.

3. Whisk in stock,  cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cane sugar and nutritional yeast flakes.

4. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and use.