Finding Your Way with GPS

Are you a GPS user, or do you just figure out where you’re going on your own? In the 80’s when my siblings and I got our driver’s licenses, gasoline was pretty inexpensive. Living in a rural town, we would often go cruising for our entertainment. Just driving around with nowhere to go; just taking an adventure to see if you could find your way back. We always found our way home and had a blast exploring the countryside.

One of the funniest trips was years later though. My sister and I loved cable TV decorating shows and really enjoyed a local show called Decorating Cents. They had a segment called “Trash to Treasure,” where the host would go to a resale shop called Sticks and Stones in Minneapolis, MN.  My sister lived within in an hour of there, so one day we took a road trip to visit the store. At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, we thought, “Huh, how hard could it be to find?” Well…let me tell you.

She had one of the first-generation, dash-mounted GPS units so we thought it would be a piece of cake to find the store. If you ever tried to use one of these units, you know that they were not always the most accurate (to say the least). She followed its instructions to the T—turn left, turn right, continue forward; and before we know it, we found ourselves on a dead end street. Well, that was obviously the wrong path! So, we turned around and tried again.

Just about the time we’re thinking we might not find the place, we saw a library sign. We pulled over to hopefully look up resale shops in the yellow pages. I got out of the car and got the address—only to find out that we’d been close and didn’t even know it. We went just a bit further, and she said, “THAT’S IT!” She whipped into an off-street parking spot, I jumped out and went up to the door, only to see a sign that said, “CLOSED FOR THE MONTH OF JULY.” What?! NO WAY!!! You are kidding me! I got in the car, told my sister, and we cracked up! Only we would get into the car to go to a town of 350,000 people looking for a small resale shop having no idea where it was. We still laugh about it today.

Do you ever feel your life is like being on a road trip and you don’t know the destination or which way to go? God doesn’t give us a map with a big X showing us our full journey with road blocks, construction, and other obstacles clearly marked. How are we supposed to know what journey he wants us on? Does our path ever change? How do we get where he wants us?

May I suggest using GPS–God’s Provision Steering. Jesus has gone ahead of us and prepared all we need to arrive in the Glory of God. “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105) I can only know what God wants for me, if I am in communication with Him. We communicate with God by prayer and reading His word. I verify my understandings of what God is showing me by seeking counsel from biblically-sound pastors, elders, and siblings in Christ.

Our paths and purpose do change from time to time. It is rare that our journeys are on a single, long straight road with no turns, hills, valleys, or obstacles. For each season of our lives, we may have a different route and purpose. Each of these routes have something in common with the others. That commonality is our specific gifts that God has given us.

Each of us have been blessed with a gift or an ability that shines God’s presence through it. For me, it’s a passion for people, a great sense of joy and laughter, and a discerning eye. As I go through each day making decisions and interacting with others, I try to concentrate on living life for God, using my gifts to shine His grace through me. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

There have been many times in my life when I have not stayed on the path God had set before me. There were times I stopped going to church, stopped studying God’s word, and stopped engaging with other believers. At those times, I found myself struggling as if I was fighting with someone all the time. Each time I wandered, God so gently guided me back. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11) I didn’t always realize it as it was happening; but once back in his arms, I knew it was where I needed to be. It becomes easier to stay on the righteous path as I mature in my relationship with Christ. The temptations to live in the world that are all around us each day bring speed bumps, potholes, construction zones, and detours in our lives and break down our efforts to live in Christ publicly.

Just as you need to make sure your car has what it needs for a road trip, you need to make sure you have what it takes to endure life’s journey. We need to have the daily fuel of God’s word, using his GPS to find the path he has laid down before us. We need regular maintenance checks to make sure we are running as we were designed to. And, we need to make sure we are ready to be used at all times.

As I pondered the subject of life’s journey, I studied God’s word and found comfort in these truths:

• “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11)
• “My son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths.” (Proverbs 1:15)
• “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” (Proverbs 10:17)
• “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and please to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
• “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)
• “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

Where does your journey lead? Is it the path you are called to be on? Seek God, and you will find where you are to be. Set yourself on studying the Bible to see where God is leading you. If you need help in this, you can send us a message, seek counsel from elders or Pastors of your local church, talk with brothers and sisters in Christ, and pray. Let’s join together on a journey with God.

What are some verses you have found helpful as you try to follow God’s path for your life? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Where Does Your Journey End?

What is life’s journey? Do the events in our lives matter? Does life just end?

These questions came to me when more than one person I knew passed away in the first couple weeks of June. As I drove the 45 minutes to my brother’s home the day his dear wife passed away, I saw these questions as clear as day. I had to stop and capture the scene pictured here. I knew then that God wanted me to share my thoughts with you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Some think that this refers to focusing on our lives instead of where we are once we pass away. Others think it’s a bit smaller and say that each event in your life doesn’t matter nor does where you end up. They believe it’s the fun you have while meandering through life, living in response to events instead of living purposefully to obtain an end goal. I’ve lived both. Prior to being a Christian, I was in it for me. Now I live my life for Christ. It changed my perspective on why we are on this earth and where we go when we die.

“May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house, but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.”
–Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon said, “May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house, but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.” Using Hebrews 13:14 as my basis, “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come,” I think that Spurgeon is NOT telling us to be strangers among ourselves but telling us to not make this world our home.

If this world is not our permanent home then there must be another that is. God has created a place for each of us to spend eternity. A glorious home at his right side. But entry into this home is not granted just because you pass away. There are requirements that grant you entry:

  • The first of which is humbly realizing that God is the Creator of all.
  • Believing that he sent his son to be a sacrifice for our iniquities, leading the way for our own redemption and entry into an eternal life with Christ. But you have to do more than just believe.
  • The key to life with Christ is to ask our Father to cleanse you of your sins, replace it with his love, and be the LORD of all in your life. Once you have done this, you have access to the Holy Spirit who guides you on the path that God has made for you. You now are able to see your iniquities, ask for forgiveness, turn from those ways and live a purposeful life glorifying God through it all.

These scriptures tell us that there is life after death and life on earth has a purpose, a goal:

  • John 14:1-4: “‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.'” 
  • Philippians 3:14: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
  • Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Have you secured your relationship with Jesus?

Our life here on earth is like dew on a lawn, lasting such a short time, then gone with the morning dawn. You can plan for your eternity now. Have you secured your relationship with Jesus? If not, I hope these passages have encouraged you to invite him into your life. God has created a place for you in heaven. Jesus is waiting there for you. If you need more help to connect with God, send us a message or reach out to your local church.

#journey #story #life #road
#lifesjourneywithjesus

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Going on a Journey

When we took our trip to Colorado a few years ago, we prepared and gathered resources, planning how to get there, where to stay, and the things we wanted to do. Then, we boarded the bus to the airport and began to enjoy the trip. Finally, we shared our experience with others by putting our pictures and updates on social media and talking about it when we returned home.

What does a Bible study journey look like? Just like your favorite vacation, a Bible study journey begins with preparation and gathering resources. Then, you enjoy the trip. Finally, you share your experience with others.

#1 Preparation

For our vacation we made airline, rental car, and hotel reservations, arranged for someone to check on the house while we were away, accumulated tourist information and suggestions from friends, and discussed what we wanted to do.

When taking a Bible study journey, preparation begins with prayer. Ask God to help you understand His word and to help you apply it to your life. Seek advice from the Spirit of God himself. Bible study journey preparation begins with prayer.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  (James 1:5)

#2 Resources

Part of the preparation process is to choose your resources. The most important resource you need for a Bible Study Journey is The Bible. Start with a version you find easy to read (Here are some online versions.) When you are comfortable with your reading, add a couple more versions as an aid to increase your understanding.

Mark it up. Whether you color code your highlighted passages, stick with one color, or use a pen, mark the verses that jump out at you. Write notes in the margin. (There are Bibles with extra wide margins that are great for this.) Place dates next to passages that apply to a particular season of your life. Draw illustrations, charts, diagrams, or timelines—anything that helps you understand, remember, and apply what you read.

As you become more comfortable with your Bible, you may want to add other resources, such as a concordance, topical Bible, lexicon, or commentary. But remember that they are not God’s Word; the Bible is.

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

#3 The Journey

Just as a physical journey can happen by plane, car, or on foot, your Bible study journey can happen through chronological readings, book or topic studies, with written Bible studies, or during casual readings. You must study and apply the plans to your life or you will go nowhere!

The how isn’t as important as doing it. This is your trip—full of plans, questions, spontaneous side trips, and delicious treats. Enjoy it!

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul…
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart…
(Psalm 19: 7-8)

#4 Share

Whenever we take trips we like to share our experience with others. We travel with others. We send postcards or share on social media. We just can’t help ourselves, we have to share our experiences. Share your journey with other women by doing a study together. Share with others what you are learning during your personal study time. Telling others about what you are learning can encourage or challenge them. It can also be a way to share Jesus with someone who doesn’t know him. Share the things you learn about God!

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…  (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

 

Where are you now? (What are you studying and how?)

If you’ve been on this journey for a while already, what is your favorite way to study?

Do you have any Bible study journey tips?

If you’re just beginning, what do you want to know or where do you want to start?

 

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

The Two Chapter Test

Whenever my children were assigned a book to read for school, I avoided arguments about whether or not they had to by implementing what I called The Two Chapter Test.

The Two Chapter Test was simple. Whenever I required a book be to read, they could not argue with me about it until they had read two chapters. Then (and only then) would I engage in a discussion about why they should or shouldn’t have to read that particular book. If their reasoning was sound (and I could justify using another resource) we would use something else.

The usual result of The Two Chapter Test was that they read the whole book without complaint. Once they had given it a chance, they were hooked.

You are probably expecting me to tell you to give the Bible The Two Chapter Test so I’ll pause here to suggest you do just that every day–give the Bible The Two Chapter (or Section or Verse) Test. See if it doesn’t leave you wanting more.

As valuable as The Two Chapter (or Section or Verse) Test may be to kick start your Bible study journey, the lesson I have recently learned is how this test applies to all areas of my life–ministry, work, fitness, homemaking, etc.

One of my children recently took a job that requires them to be away from home for the majority of the next five months. After their first day, I received a text at 1:38 am. They were convinced they had made a mistake and wanted to go home. Twenty minutes later, after telling them not to make any decision in the middle of the night and to call in the morning, I headed back to bed. When they called several hours later, Tim and I reminded them of The Two Chapter Test and encouraged them to wait until the end of the week before making any decisions–to give it the equivalent of The Two Chapter Test. Two days later they apologized for their frantic middle-of-the-night texting and said they were enjoying themselves and wanted to stay.

I realize now that I’ve approached most of life that way. Homeschooling is a prime example of how this has worked in my life. I never said I would homeschool four children all the way through (25-30 years is a long commitment). I didn’t want to read that particular “book.” I always said that we would homeschool “this year” and think about “next year”–my Two Chapter Test. Each year I would say the same thing until, before I knew it, I was finished. Once I jumped in and tried it, I just kept going until that part of my journey (the book) was done.

There have been many times when I didn’t want to do something, but once I started, I just kept going. Once I tried it, I even enjoyed the experience as a whole (not that their weren’t challenging parts to get through on occasion).

So on this life journey, I encourage you to take up the challenge currently before you and give it The Two Chapter Test. See what happens!

 

Have you ever given a life project the equivalent of The Two Chapter Test?
What happened?

Are you being led to a Two Chapter Test now?

Do you have a favorite verse that would help someone who needs to jump into a project?

Active Patience

Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow–that is patience. ∼Leo Tolstoy

Sometimes our journey with God is hard. Sometimes it seems as though we’ve struggled forever only to look around and discover we’ve barely moved. We need to look up ahead and focus on our future hope, and look beside us at the One who is there to help us. Then, we will be able to take the next step. And the next. And the next. Until we find ourselves at our destination.

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
∼2 Thessalonians 3:5

 

Welcome to
Bible Study Journey!

 

WHAT will you find here?


Whether you have been studying God’s Word for years or are new to the whole Bible study thing, we want to provide a safe place to share and discuss what you discover in the pages of your Bible.

Here at biblestudyjourney.com you will find several sections to explore: The GPS, What to Pack, Postcards, Souvenirs, and About Us. Let’s unpack those sections a bit so you know where to find the items you need for your journey.

The GPS – Bible Study

    In The GPS we will be sharing both original studies and links to other studies. We hope to have our first study available in January so check back soon for more information!

What to Pack – Bible Study Tools

    Whenever we go on a long journey, we pack items we think will be needed–shoes, toothbrush, pajamas, etc. As we prepare for our Bible Study Journey, it helps to have certain items in our bag–Bible, concordance, commentary, etc. What to Pack is where we will begin to provide links to those items.

Postcards – Blogs

    Postcards (and now social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are how we share our journeys with others, and our Bible Study Journey is no different. Postcards is the section of our site where you will find our blogs, and our blogs are where we share our journeys with one other. The focus of our blogs will be on the journey itself–our study of God and His Word and lessons on how to dig deeper. This will be a safe place to share our insights, lessons, struggles, encouragement, and triumphs as we all journey toward a deeper relationship with God.
    New posts will be made every week. We have a family of bloggers and moderators on this journey with us. Follow us so you don’t miss a thing!

Souvenirs – Apply It

    1. Whenever we take a journey, we bring things home with us–pictures, key chains, t-shirts, etc. The same is true of our Bible Study Journey. As we journey with God through His Word and this life, there will be things we will want to take home–things we’ll need to apply to our lives and tools to use.  We must apply the things we learn on our journey in order to be strong enough and wise enough for the more difficult or longer parts of the trip. Join us as we share ideas on applying what we learn and offer free resources to help you along your Bible Study Journey.

About Us

    This section is where you will discover our mission, meet our contributors and find their stories, and be able to contact us.

Journeys are always more fun when they are shared so let’s join together on a Bible Study Journey!

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be bless in what they do.
James 1:25

 

[Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™]