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Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Wishing you a “Happy New Year!”

Let me end this year by encouraging you to choose a Bible reading plan and read the Bible through in 2021. You will never regret soaking up the Word of God.

Below is a link with many different plans you can chose from. Choose one that suits you best and go for it!

Top 14 Best Bible Reading Plans – 2023

Also, here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

1. Skip over the Bible genealogy you can’t pronounce. [At this point, knowing there’s a genealogy is enough for now, especially if this is your first read-through.]

2. Read with a pen, highlighter and notebook nearby to write down verses, questions, or things you want to look up later.

3. It is okay to read ahead. There will be days you will miss.

4. If possible, find a friend to read along with you on the same plan. [This way you will have a comrade to share with.]

5. Don’t be discouraged if you lag behind. Keep at it. So what if it takes you 1 1/2 or 2+ years to finish?

6. If you are reading a book for your Bible study class or group, count it. When you get to that book, you will be happy to have some catch-up time.

7. If you are in a plan where you are reading the entire Old Testament at once, give yourself permission to stop and read something in the New Testament.

8. Share meaningful verses with your friends and family.

9. Look for God’s sense of humor as you read. For example, today I did something rather “stupid” and the next thing I read (in my plan) was in Matthew 11:4. It said, “Go and report to John what you hear and see.”

Yikes, John is my husband’s name! I laughed when I read that. I still haven’t told him, but I will when he wakes up!!!

Best wishes and again, have a blessed 2021!

And please share this article with your friends and family!

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Surprising Tips That Will Transform Your Approach to Teaching and Preaching

I love reading books on preaching! They seem much more interesting to me than reading books on teaching. Besides being a former elementary school teacher, I am also a Bible teacher at my church and in other locations.

Of course, I have always been more interested in Christian theology than Christian education. I read preaching books to learn how to teach. When I read a book on preaching, I usually change the words preach and preacher to teach and teacher. In addition, I change the word sermon to either class or lesson.

Visiting My College Campus

Recently I visited Baylor University—my former college campus. As usual, whenever I visit the campus I always head straight for the bookstore. Back in the day, I loved perusing the college books that were for sale. It didn’t matter that they weren’t books connected to my major. Absorbing knowledge from multiple degree plans captivated my attention — though, as far as I was concerned, the math shelves could be roped off indefinitely.

On the day I visited the bookstore as an alumna, I noticed ALL the textbooks were roped off in preparation for the fall semester to begin. Not one to be held back, I asked a clerk if I could jump the rope to examine the selection of the theology books. Fortunately, the clerk graciously said, “Sure! Just go around this way,” and pointed me in the right direction.

On Preaching by H.D. Charles, Jr.

Without delay, I looked at all the theology books ready to be bought by the eager seminary students on campus. Through my scanning, skimming, and sometimes speedreading, I ran across a book titled On Preaching: Personal & Pastoral Insights for the Preparation & Practice of Preaching by H.D. Charles, Jr. After flipping through the pages, scanning the chapter titles, and reading the back cover of the book, I decided this book might just be another book for my library—one that would help me to become a better Bible teacher.

The book was informative, easy to read, and reminded me why I enjoy teaching.

The “Table of Contents” chapter titles are:

  1. Preparation for Preaching
  2. The Practice of Preaching, and
  3. Points of Wisdom for Preaching

However, in my mindset, I renamed the chapter titles to coordinate with the primary subject matter of this article—teaching.

  1. How To Prepare for a Teaching Assignment
  2. What The Practice Of Teaching Entails, and
  3. Tidbits of Wisdom For Teaching

Even if you have been preaching or teaching for a long time, this book is truly a great resource for both beginning and seasoned preachers as well as the beginning or seasoned Bible teachers. The author clearly states the awesome responsibility of preparing to be all God intends you to be for the work He has called you to do.

Teaching Tips

This blog includes some tips for those involved in teaching classes within a church environment—like Sunday School, Discipleship Training, Men or Women’s Bible study classes, and special teaching times. However, there are also ways one does not usually think of when talking about the gift of teaching—like being an elder, clarifying religious issues to a visitor or member, evangelizing, teaching an everyday skill, plus more.

In On Preaching, H.D. Charles states that “There are those who draw a hard distinction between preaching and teaching. But this dichotomy cannot be backed up by Scripture. In the same verse that Paul charges Timothy to preach the Word, he bids him do so with “complete patience and teaching: (2 Timothy 4:2) Preaching and teaching go together. To preach the Word requires teaching the Word.”

In the insights shared below, all bolded and italicized words have been changed from the original statements pulled out from this book. Read with enthusiasm these insights, so you can grow to be one approved by God—whether in teaching or preaching!

Quotes from On Preaching

Time management is one of the most crucial areas of stewardship in a teacher’s life.

Do whatever you have to do to be ready to teach the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ!

Your teaching is the most effective way you can impact your class.

Pray that the Lord would open your eyes to see wonderful things in the Word. (Psalm 119:18)

Saturate every part of your study with prayer. Pray that Christ would oversee your study. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth. Seek the mind of God in the text. Repent as the text confronts you with sin in your life. Pray for wisdom as you read. Ask for clarity as you write. Work as if it all depends on you but pray as if it all depends on God.

Think yourself empty. Read yourself full. Write yourself clear. And pray yourself hot. Then go to your class and be yourself. But don’t teach yourselfteach Jesus to the glory of God!

[PRAY] Father, please give me the physical strength and spiritual energy to speak your Word with faithfulness, clarity, authority, passion, wisdom, humiliation and liberty.

Clarity is essential for faithful teaching.

The teacher’s ultimate authority is found in the Word of God.

What the Word of God says is infinitely more important than our testimonials.

The teaching moment is not about you. We must decrease that Christ may increase. (John 3:30)

Our job is to teach in such a way that brings the hearer before the living God. Then we are to get out of the way! But our sinful flesh will constantly seek to be in the spotlight. Prayer helps to keep our egos in check. It helps us to teach with a humility that makes much of Christ and little of ourselves.

Every class we teach should be saturated with the Word of God.

We should teach with the conviction that the Bible is given to us for our transformation, not just information.

Go to God in prayer and ask Him to guide you for what you should teach. Ask for clear direction. Seek God diligently. Trust the promise that God will generously give wisdom to those who ask for it in faith. (James 1:5-8)

More Quotes

Teaching is hard work. It is not for the slothful.

We all have weaknesses in our teaching. We all have growing to do. We all have blind spots that cannot be seen without trusted people being honest with us. But those blind spots are there, whether we identify them or not. We should actively seek them out and strive to address them.

Keep the main thing the main thing in your classes, and do not let subdivisions of your outline lead you away from the main idea.

The class will never be interested in a lesson that doesn’t seem to be interesting to the teacher.

The effective teacher must also work to clarify meaning, make ideas stick, and call the listener to action.

Be flexible. The One who guides the preparation of your study governs the presentation of it. And He has the right to edit your presentation as you teach it! Your job is to teach the message the Lord gives you and He leads you, not to say everything you wrote in your lesson preparation.

Take every teaching assignment seriously. Pray and prepare diligently and give the Lord all you’ve got.

Desire to be the best teacher you can be for God. Don’t compete with other teachers.

Teaching is not about the teacher. It is about the royal message that we teach.

No Christian should ever be found boasting in himself, especially a teacher of Jesus Christ.

People should learn more about Christ from your lessons than they learn about you.

Do your own homework. [Never plagiarize another’s work. If you quote others or take from their writings or sermons, give credit where credit is due.] [Remember] God uses weak people, not gospel superstars. We are weak and fragile clay pots at the Master’s disposal to convey the treasure of the message of Jesus Christ.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

In writing this blog, I have taken the liberty stated in the front of the book that “brief quotations [may be used] embodied in critical articles or reviews.” I deem this blog a review of the book On Preaching. Therefore, with a high recommendation, I promote this book for both preachers and teachers.

My prayer is that you will see the parallels between preaching and teaching. And possibly, the next time you encounter a preacher book, you might pick it up to help you with whatever type of teaching assignments God sends your way.

Bible Verses

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. (Matthew 11:1)

Prayer

Oh Lord, help me to be approved by You to teach or preach the Word of God with accuracy—in the way You intended it to be taught and preached. May the words that come out of my mouth be representative of You. Teach me daily to become more like You in every thought, word, or action I may take. Always in Christ. Amen.

God Bless.

greenenpastures.org

Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member

BibleGateway Blogger, Member

SBC, Church Member

Works Cited

Charles, H.B. On Preaching: Personal & Pastoral Insights for the Preparation & Practice of Preaching. Chicago: Moody, 2014.

Edited by E. Johnson.

All verses are from the New American Standard Bible unless noted otherwise.

Books by Patti Greene

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

@PattiGreene13

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How to Pray: 10 Tips for a Better Prayer Life

How to Pray: 10 Tips for a Better Prayer Life / by Patti Greene

[From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

Matthew 26:41 states, “Watch and pray, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

As believers, we are all given the privilege of praying, but why do we fail at it? Sometimes we don’t want to pray or we don’t know how to pray. Satan will do all he can to stop us from praying through apathy, distractions, laziness, or sin. In our flesh, we don’t have the strength to pray as we ought to. But, God’s Holy Spirit will empower us to pray and help us in with our prayer life.

10 Tips for a Better Prayer Life

  1. Understand there is a scriptural basis for prayer.

    God specifically tells us to pray. The principle of ‘calling on God’ is mentioned multiple times in Scripture. The Bible tells us to pray explicitly and the LORD will answer our prayers and tell us great and hidden things not known (Jer. 33:3).

  1. Use a framework when praying.

    Prayer consists of many aspects—praise, worship, thanksgiving, confession, and petition. People from both the Old Testament and New Testaments prayed. Prayer unleashes the Holy Spirit and ignites a change in us. God’s people and God’s church are empowered through prayer (Phil. 4:6-7).

  1. Understand we are called to pray.

    Believers are called to pray. God can do whatever he wants to do, but he delights in working through our prayers. Praying takes discipline. It is our responsibility to pray for ourselves and for the needs of others. Sometimes we hesitate to pray because we do not believe that there will be results (1 Sam. 12:23).

  1. Just ask.

    God wants us to ask for what we need. The Bible mentions numerous things we can pray about for ourselves or for others such as, good health, God’s will, wisdom, and strength. Matthew 7:11b states, “How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (2 Chron. 1:11-12a).

  1. Be bold.

    Be bold—do not be general or half-hearted in our requests to God. God wants us to be bold in our prayers. Ask the LORD for a verse to speak especially to us. Claim God’s promises in prayer. We can start with John 15:7, John 15:16, and John 16:23-24 (Acts 4:31).

  1. Pray the Scriptures.

    Many people have discovered the power of praying Scriptures in their communication with God; thus, developing confidence in their prayers. To “pray the Scriptures,” try substituting names, pronouns, places, and circumstances into the Word of God (Heb. 4:12).

  1. Agree in prayer.

    Sometimes we pray with no results. This might be a time to call for others to pray with us. Jesus promises to be with us when two or more are gathered in his name. When united in prayer, God’s power multiples as our prayers are uplifted and intertwined in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 18:19-20).

  1. Read the Bible in addition to praying.

    2 Tim. 2:15 says to, “Study to show thyself approved unto God.” Spending time in Bible study and prayer causes our spirits to become sensitive to his leading. Succumbing to today’s culture of liberalism is easy, but when the words of God dwell within his people, we are less likely to be led astray (James 1:5).

  1. Believe in his divine providence.

    The universe is not governed by fate. God is in control of every occurrence in the universe. All that happens is because it is either his will or he allowed it. Because God is involved in everything in the world, he able to answer our prayers because he sees the big picture unfolding in our lives. (Ps. 103:19).

  1. Pray for God’s will.

    While there is no set procedure for knowing God’s will, his will never contradicts what his Word says. With Biblical guidance, prayer, counsel of mature believers, faith, glimpses from the Holy Spirit, and sometimes miraculous intervention, revelation of his will is possible (Heb. 11:8).

God Bless. And if you have any tips for readers, please comment so we can all learn together. Thank you.

PATTIGREENE.eps-(1

Patti Greene, Member Inspirational Writers Alive


Bible Verse:

For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:18

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, with thanksgiving, I call on your name. Teach me how to pray. Let me hear, understand, and feel your presence. Holy God, guard my steps, and let my requests be in line with your will. Let me do what is right in your sight, O Holy God.


Bisango, John. The Power of Positive Praying. Nashville: B&H, 1979.

Greene, Patti. Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer. Bloomington: WestBow, 2016.

Rogers, Adrian. “Prayer #2064”. www.youtube.com. 1 Jan 2017.


This blog is taken from the “How to Pray” section of Answer Me: Developing a heart for prayer.

For more articles on prayer, click here.

Bible text verses are taken from the English Standard Version Bible. Linked verses are taken from the New American Standard Bible.


Books by Patti Greene:

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (A Devotional Prayer Journal) by Patti Greene, click here

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