How to Read the Bible for Spiritual Food

The difference between knowledge and nourishment

Reading the BibleThe reasons people read the Bible fall into two main categories. There are those who study the Bible, comparing one verse with another, researching the original language and setting, looking for answers to intellectual questions, preparing for a class or Bible study or sermon. And then there are those who go to the Bible for spiritual food.

There’s nothing wrong with studying the Bible. Most of us need to do more of that. The Bible itself talks a lot about the benefits God’s word provides to those who study it diligently. I’ve studied the Bible since I was a little girl. I’ve read it through many times. I’ve studied the original languages and culture and setting. I’ve read books, taken classes, and listened to countless expository sermons and teachings. And I’m grateful for every one of those things.

But it’s possible to do all those things and still not have your heart changed. There are professors at divinity schools who know as much or more about the Bible than you or I do, and still do not believe in God. Satan himself knows the Bible better than we do, and even believes in God. “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!” (James 2:19)

There is a huge difference between studying the Bible for knowledge and going to the Bible as a starving person looking for nourishment.     Tweet that.

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7 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Worked Up

Preventing Later Regrets

Angry ManIt’s a rare person who never gets emotionally flustered. And I’m not sure such a person truly exists. Some people get worked up over the smallest things – the coffee maker didn’t start on time, or your coworker pulled into your favorite parking spot just as you were about to grab it. But there are plenty of big things that can cause even the toughest person to temporarily lose their emotional footing, such as a serious illness, a major financial loss, the death of a loved one, or a friend’s betrayal.

Reacting out of your emotions when you’re worked up is natural. And we each have our favorite ways of doing so: withdrawing into isolation, lashing out in anger, or dissolving into tears or anxiety. Strong emotions affect our decision-making ability, and it’s easy to say or do things out of those emotions that we will later regret. One of the first steps in emotional maturity is understanding yourself well enough to know when you need to slow down long enough for your rational mind to catch up.

When you feel the heat of being emotionally worked up churning in your being, press PAUSE. Here are several mistakes to avoid at those high-temperature times.

  1. Don’t make big decisions. Making wise decisions that will have long-lasting consequences requires a clear mind. Most of us can’t do that when we’re worked up. Quitting your job or your marriage, throwing away a friendship, selling or buying something expensive, moving to a new church or city, bailing out on a challenging project – none of those decisions can wisely be made out of fear, anger, disappointment, frustration, or any other strong emotion. Wait until your mental temperature cools somewhat, and include your rational mind in the decision-making process.
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Raging Against Death: The End of the Story

Why you must not give up before the end

Bible with Dead LeafYou can handle a lot – for a while. You can handle separation from your sweetheart if you know you’ll be greeted with an embrace on your return in a few days. You can put up with a horrendous mess as your kitchen is being remodeled – for a couple weeks. You may be able to tolerate the grueling radiation or chemo for your cancer while you count down the six weeks until it ends. Knowing the end of the story makes things easier.

But what if you don’t know the end of the story? Jim Collins writes of his interview with Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest-ranking United States military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner-of-war camp during the Vietnam War. Tortured over twenty times times during his eight-year imprisonment, Stockdale was credited with helping other men deal with the torture, instituting an elaborate communication system among his fellow captives who were often held in solitary confinement, and exchanging secret intelligence information with his wife through their letters. When questioned about what allowed him to make it through that time with his sanity intact, he credited his ability to be both brutally honest about his present circumstances and at the same time confident that he and the others would get out and prevail in the end. He told Jim Collins,

This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. (Good to Great, p. 45)

Jim Stockdale was confident of the end of the story even though none of the circumstances around him provided evidence of such. That makes me think of our own circumstances – and of the end of the story that we are each a part of right now.

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5 Keys to Great Intimacy After Menopause

I’m so excited to be guest posting over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum today! Thank You!!!! to Sheila Wray Gregoire for the privilege. I invite you to check out all the great resources Sheila has to offer.

Great Sex During MenopauseYour first response may be, “Is there even such a thing as intimacy after menopause? And you’re telling me it can be great?”

As much as many women under 50 may try to ignore the fact, every single one of us will pass, is passing, or has already passed through the menopause transition. There’s a common stereotype going around that women who have gone through menopause are neither interested nor interesting when it comes to sex and sexuality. But that’s just not true.

I’m a member of the over-fifty club myself, and I can assure you I’m not old! And if you ask other fifty-plus-somethings, many of them would tell you the same thing. There’s a lot of truth to the adage, “You’re only as old as you feel,” especially when it comes to intimacy.

There’s no reason women cannot continue to enjoy great sex and satisfying intimacy during and after menopause, through your fifties and beyond.

But stereotypes usually come from somewhere. It is true that during and after menopause many women experience changes in libido, sexual arousal, and sexual satisfaction. Not all these changes are negative. So it’s helpful to be aware of how your current season of life affects you so that you can maximize the benefits and address the challenges.

Want to read the rest of the post, and find out 5 Keys to having great intimacy after menopause?

Join me over at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum today. I’ll see you there!