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3 Ways I Can Love My Neighbor! 

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3 Ways I can “love my neighbor!” 

In recent days there have been cries of pain, anger, hatred, resentment, tears, malice, slander, acts of violence, and protests in various forms.   Christians are those who believe and follow Jesus Christ, they are called to be like Jesus. 

Especially in times of turmoil, our love for the Lord needs to be reflected in our speech, conduct, thoughts and actions as a testimony of God’s love.  Jesus loved his neighbor.  Jesus did not show any racial prejudice.   He knew what it was like to be despised and rejected, but he always responded in love and mercy.  Even to the religious hypocrites of His time, the Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s - Jesus spoke the truth and challenged them to see the error of their ways.   By looking at Jesus, we can learn at least three ways to show love to our neighbors. 

Speak the Truth in Love 

Jesus spoke the truth, but He always did it with an attitude of love.  In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus said these words, 

“43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (NKJV) 

Jesus lays before his listeners that people need to love their enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you! 

What would your world look like if people around you did this?  What would your world look like if you did this? 

A soft or kind word can turn away wrath. (See Prov. 15:1)  Jesus wanted his followers to show love by blessing others, doing good to others, and praying for others, especially those who express hatred toward you! 

Show love by blessing others! 

Turn on the news and one can hear stories of hatred being spread throughout our country.  What would it look like, if instead of spewing hatred, anger, slander, and violence, people spewed out “blessings!” 

The dictionary defines “blessing” as “the act or words of a person who blesses, a special favor, mercy, or benefit, a favor or gift bestowed by God, the invoking of God’s favor upon a person, praise; devotion; worship, approval or good wishes.” ( 

By blessing others through my speech, showing favor or praise to others — these acts would express love for others and elevate respect and dignity for humanity. 

Show love by doing good to others! 

I remember a few years ago, many people were encouraging people to practice “random acts of kindness.”  This is when you would, for example, pay for a stranger’s meal or groceries without them knowing it.  Sometimes they would know it, but it wasn’t for personal recognition.  The act of kindness was an act of doing good to others!  Helping them by providing for their needs without being asked or required.  You saw a need and acted on it. 

Jesus did this!  He saw the need of your heart and my heart.  Our heart-condition was infected with sin and Jesus gave His life so that those who believe in Him would be made righteous, clean, free from sin.   He did this so we could know how much he loves us.   His death and resurrection is God’s ultimate act of kindness. 

We show love for others by doing good deeds for them, especially those who hate us. 

Show love by praying for others! 

Jesus encourages his followers to pray for those who persecute them!  We are to pray specifically and intentionally for our enemies.  How?  By asking God to convict of sin, change and cleanse their hearts, renew their minds.  We can pray and ask God to silence their anger, turn their hatred, and deliver us from their attacks.  We can pray that God will show his love to them through us! 

This is hard to do, if not impossible.  The only way is to rely on the Holy Spirit, to help us love others the way Jesus does.   Jesus even prayed as he was being crucified, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”(See Luke 23:34)  One way I show love is by praying for my enemies, asking God to forgive them, asking God to help me forgive them. 

In the light of recent events, as I search my heart, I need to show Christ’s love more.  I need to bless others, do good to them, and pray for them.  Those who appear to be my enemy, I need God to flow through me and reflect His love to them. 

How about you?  How have you shown love to others? I would like to hear your stories.  Please comment or email me.  May we all strive to not only live at peace with each other but may we love one another as Christ loves us. 

Growing together, 


 2 Timothy 1:7

How to Experience Comfort in a Time of Loss 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash 

How to Experience Comfort in a Time of Loss 

(Christianity and the World lost a true Ambassador for Christ this week as Ravi Zacharius entered into Glory and was welcomed home by Jesus.  This spurred my thinking regarding how we deal with loss) 

When loss is experienced in one’s life, there is a flood of emotions that come and visit.  Hurt, Anger, Fear, Loneliness, Discouragement, Grief and much more come barging down the door of our heart.  We become overwhelmed with tears or tempted to withdraw from this world all together.  How can one find comfort in a moment of grief?  How can one expect to move on when they have lost so much? 

It is okay to grieve, and cry, and feel the rollercoaster of emotional loss.  Human Beings are wired that way.  But these emotions can become a danger, if we dwell and live there instead of grow through them.  In my experience of loss, there are at least five ways I discover comfort and hope in the discord of pain, suffering and grief. 

Remember the Good Memories You Shared 

At memorial services and funerals, there is often a time in the service to reflect upon the loved one’s life.  Many times family members or friends will tell of a story or two about the deceased.  This story usually highlights the person's excellent character or loving memory that the storyteller and loved one shared.  This act of remembering brings comfort. 

Remember the valuable lessons you learned 

When we lose someone we love, we long for more time to have had with the individual we lost.  We have a new awareness of appreciating and valuing the moments we had spent with them.  We can remember the conversations and the lessons we learned from being with them, either watching or listening to them.  Those memories help build character and bring comfort.  I have passed on “nuggets” of wisdom my parents (both deceased) told me to my children, time and time again. I remember when they first taught me a life lesson, such as my Dad teaching me to drive and not get angry and other drivers were not as patient with me driving as my Dad was.   “Let them go,” he would say to me, “focus on your driving, not them!”  Four words he would say, “They’re not worth it!” I’ve said that countless times when riding with my adult children as they drive, especially when they get tense or stressed by other drivers.  Many other,” Lessons our loved ones taught us.  When we value what they say, we allow their lives to speak to us and that brings comfort. 

Rely on Your Faith to view the Eternal 

What I mean by this statement is, depend upon your faith and belief in God to see eternity.   There is a Heaven and a Hell.  There is a day that every individual will die.  When that day comes, Heaven or Hell will be their eternal destination.  In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of a rich man and Lazarus, a beggar.  In this story, he highlights Heaven and Hell.   The Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 2:5-7

“5 We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against him. But he gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) 6 Yes, it is because we are a part of Christ Jesus that God raised us from death and seated us together with him in the heavenly places. 7 God did this so that his kindness to us who belong to Christ Jesus would clearly show for all time to come the amazing richness of his grace.” (ERV) 

These verses tell of the promised reality that those who believe in Jesus Christ are seated with him in the heavenly places.   Viewing Eternity re-aligns one’s perspective and brings comfort. 

Rely on Scripture to Inspire Hope 

If you believe in God through Christ, you can understand and value the importance of Scripture.  God’s Word gives and inspires hope.   As you make yourself aware of God’s written Word, apply it, meditate on it, praying it — God will build His character in you!   He will give you hope when there seems to be no hope.  His word will fortify and strengthen you, even in your loss.  Think of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. 4 He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.” (ERV) 

God can give you the ability to comfort others through the experiences you have gone through!  His Spirit in you comforts you so you can comfort others!  This brings hope.  Knowing God brings hope and comfort! 

Rely on the Sovereignty of God 

This is where faith meets reality!  I believe in Jesus Christ therefore I rely on God the Father’s Sovereignty.   That means God is in control!  He knows all, I must trust and rely on His perfect will being accomplished for my loved one.  I must trust His timing.  As my brother’s mother-in-law, used to say, “God is never late or early He is always on time.”  God is the Creator, Sovereign, Holy, Just and Loving God.  I can trust Him.  He knows what is best.  He is at work in the world today, regardless if men acknowledge Him or not.  The best option is to acknowledge Him and trust in Him and believe in Him.  If you do, He gives eternal life, citizenship in Heaven, living in His presence forever.  No more tears or pain, but joy. 

Becoming a child of God begins with faith in Christ, believing in Him. This brings the gift of eternal life and entrance into Heaven for the child of God.  God has rescues those who trust in Him from the kingdom of darkness (Hell) and brings them into the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:13)

When I think of the loved ones that I have lost, I remember the quality times we had.  I remember the lessons they taught me.  I rely on my faith in Christ to see Eternity.  I rely on the promises of God’s Word.  I trust in God’s Sovereignty - He is in control.  This brings comfort during grief and helps me to grow in God’s grace and comfort others. 

How about you?  How do you deal with grief?  If you are experiencing hurt or loss, I would be happy to pray for you.  Please see how to contact me, and I will respond.  Thanks for reading. 

Growing together, 


2 Timothy 1:7

The Power of a Kind Word! 

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash 

The power of a kind word! 

(Here are five ways a kind word is compelling) 

Do you remember the first time you experienced power? Maybe it was when you were a child, and you stuck your finger in an electrical outlet! BAM - you felt the shock of electricity! Or think about the use of a chain saw cutting oak trees or pine trees.  The blades power was almost like butter! Or maybe it was when your mom or dad expressed an act of kindness to you or said a kind word to you - that you never forgot. Their words meant the world to you. 

I believe expressing a kind word to others is one of the most powerful things you can do. Here are five ways a kind word, when used sincerely, is powerful. 

The power of a kind word can change a course of action! 

Misunderstandings, miscommunication, misinterpretation of the facts can cause conflict. When not appropriately handled, emotions flare, tempers rise, and a disagreement or argument ensues. But if one party involved expresses a kind word during the conflict, it could alter the entire course of the conversation. Statements like, “I understand we are on opposite sides at the moment, but I respect your opinion and want to understand” can bring harmony instead of explosive anger. Disarming harmful emotions by giving a word of kindness, can help turn the tide of disagreement. 

Henry David Thoreau said, “The only way, to tell the truth, is to speak with kindness. Only the words of a loving man can be heard.” ( 

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)” Ephesians 4:32 

The meaning of the word “kind” in this verse is “gentle, benign, kind, obliging, gracious.” It comes from the Greek New Testament word “chrestos.” (Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament

So when I am gracious in my speech, kind and gentle, the words I use can change the whole direction of the conflict. 

James compared the tongue to a “rudder” on a ship that can steer and change the whole direction in which the ship is sailing. (See James 3:4) 

The power of a kind word can soften an angry response. 

Proverbs 25:15 states, “15 With patience, you can make anyone change their thinking, even a ruler. Gentle speech is very powerful.” (ERV) 

Just think of the possibilities that can happen when one uses a kind (gentle) word in response to anger! 

Like the writer in Proverbs, their thinking -even if it is a king - can change! Kind words can absolve anger. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:31 tells the Ephesians to get rid of or put away all “bitterness, wrath and anger…” How does he suggest doing this? By “being kind to one another.” 

When two individuals argue with each other, one’s natural defense is to attack.  The first words spoken are hateful and hurtful. What would happen if, instead, words of kindness and clarification were spoken? The soft, gentle, and kind words used will soften the angry response. 

I remember a time growing up when I was agitated. I had disobeyed and broke school rules and because of that offense; they took away privileges from me and my friends. This was an outrage, so when my mother came to me and confronted me (she worked at the private school I attended) I spoke to her angrily and hateful. I’ll never forget her reaction. She did not say anything to me! Nothing, not a word. Lovingly, she turned, and walked away. Her reaction hit me like a race car traveling 200 miles an hour! I realized I had hurt her, disobeyed her and the school. I was punished justly, but I had disappointed my mother. Her gentle response caused me to be silent, and then I sought her forgiveness and went to the owner of the school, and asked her forgiveness as well. My mother’s response turned my anger toward reconciliation. 

The power of a kind word can rescue one from depression. 

Proverbs 15:13 states, “·Happiness makes a person smile [L A joyful heart brightens one’s face],but· sadness [L a troubled heart] can break a person’s spirit. (EXB)” 

Sometimes people who are sad or depressed need to be left alone, while other times, they are inwardly crying out for attention. 

People need to love and be loved. A kind word expressed from one’s heart, at the right moment, can rescue one from being sad or depressed. A person who falls down a water-well needs a rope to climb out.  This rope symbolizes the kind words we say.  A kindly spoken word is their rescue line. 

The power of a kind word can rekindle compassion for others. 

Remember meeting that happy, cheerful, joyful person the other day? Sure you do? They had a contagious smile and attitude that seemed to wash over you like a flood! You felt respected, appreciated, valued, and alive. You wanted to be kind to the next person you met and show that same happy, cheerful, joyful demeanor! 

A kind word aptly spoken can rekindle compassion and love toward others. It becomes contagious. It’s like demonstrating the “golden rule.” Eugene Peterson states it this way, “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” (Matthew 7:12, The Message) 

A simple prayer asking the Lord to help you speak a word of kindness, even when you don’t feel like it, can give you the faith to do so. 

The power of a kind word can bring healing and forgiveness. 

In Acts 3, Peter and John are going to the Temple to pray. On their way, a beggar asks them for money, but Peter responds most unusually and kindly. He says, “I have no money at all, but I give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I order you to get up and walk!” 7 Then he took him by his right hand and helped him up. At once, the man’s feet and ankles became strong; 8 he jumped up, stood on his feet, and started walking around. Then he went into the Temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.” (Acts 3:6-8, GNT) 

What took place? The leading of the Holy Spirit in Peter, expressed in words that were kind and loving, brought this lame beggar to his feet. He experienced healing and forgiveness! 

A kind word expressed from our lips to someone can meet their need. It can move them toward being forgiving, restored, and bring healing. 

A kind word is a genuinely remarkable power available for all of us to use. Proverbs 16:24 says, “24 Kind words are like honey—sweet to the taste and good for your health.” 

May we expand our vocabulary and speak kind words to all those we meet! 

How have you used kind words in your conversations? I would love to hear. Please send me an email or post a comment below. 

Growing Together, 


2 Timothy 1:7

The Most Exciting Time to Live For Jesus! 

Photo by Jason Betz on Unsplash

written by Teddy O'Farrell

The Most Exciting Time to Live For Jesus 

Why, this could be the most exciting time to live for Jesus! The world has gone crazy! With the spread of the Covid-19 virus, with “stay-at-home” orders in effect, with social distancing being practiced, it may be hard to think this is the most exciting time to live for Jesus Christ! I believe it is and here are some reasons:   

Sharing Jesus with others on the internet has become “main-stream.”  

 I mean, the internet is now one of the most effective ways people are communicating. Churches are posting their worship services via Facebook Live, or through their web-streaming service on their websites. Pastors are communicating via You-tube and/or Vimeo. People are reaching out using video conferencing tools like Zoom, or Webex, or “Go-To-Meeting.”   

 I could watch a pastor friend of mind and catch up with others in their ministries, whom I haven’t spoken to in years! Amazing! 

 These tools are allowing the church to grow and proclaim the gospel in new ways.   

 Sharing Jesus with others through writing is an effective way to communicate the gospel. 

It is exciting to write about Jesus and share insights from God’s Word through the use of “blogs.” The power of the written word is still very effective. I am encouraged by others who are discovering the truth of God’s Word and writing about it. We can glean from others in their experience and learn from their examples. As we write and share our stories, others will benefit and grow.   

 The church is to be about teaching and instructing. Think about what they did in the book of Acts! The believers gathered together. They shared each other's needs, meals, and what the Lord was teaching them. They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and prayer (Acts 2:42). There is no greater time to be teaching about Jesus from God’s Word than now! There is no greater value than praying for one another. There is no greater time to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.   

 God is allowing the church to use modern tools to spread the saving message of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. How wonderful it is to have the Lord transform our lives with His truth. How amazing it is that He gave His one and only Son to save man from eternal damnation. How powerful it is when one accepts Jesus Christ by faith—forgiveness, cleansing, being rescued and adopted into God’s family. How adaptable it is, that the Holy Spirit gives the church the ability to use these tools to share God’s truth.   

We should take advantage of the tools of technology and use them to make disciples for Jesus Christ. This is not “selling out” to the world or becoming “consumer-driven.” No, it is “fishing for men.” It is becoming as the apostle Paul states, in 1 Corinthians 9:19-21,  

“19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law, I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.” (NIV) 

I believe the intent of what he is saying is; he used whatever methods or tools available to him to win people to Christ. He did not compromise the message. He did not water-down the truth. He adapted and used the tools before Him, his heritage, his culture, his trade, and his knowledge and skills — all to live totally, wholly for Jesus Christ. His motive was a love for God and a love for others. He committed himself to being a servant “to win as many as possible.”   

  Sharing Jesus with others through an email or notes grabs people’s attention. 

It used to be that TV commercials were the primary way of getting the “word” out. Not any longer, email, texting, Twitter, Instagram, Snap-chat, and other “apps” are all in use. College professors have had to instruct students not to use “emoji’s” or shortened words like “lol” in their writings. Communication has changed and is changing. The old way of mailing a letter is still in use, but email has taken over.   

Lindsay Patton-Carson states there are at least six advantages of email. Her topics suggests help in writing better, keeping track of contacts and improve one’s spelling of words. I believe it is a great way to share prayer requests and share invites to video-conferencing meetings or just wishing someone a “happy birthday!”   

Writing an email is a great way to share your testimony — what Jesus has done for you in your life! You can write a brief note and still communicate how Christ has met and changed your life. For me, I invited Christ in my heart at age eight and knew from that moment that I was God’s child. You can read about my testimony here.   

Why not ask the Lord to help you use the technology tools of today to share your faith with someone? Why not even write a postcard or email to a friend and let them know you are thinking of them? Take the time, be courageous, be brave and share your faith with those around you. You’ll discover it is the most exciting time to live for Jesus as you do! 

I would love to hear your stories of you using modern technology to share Jesus. Let me know in the comments section below or through an email.   

Growing together, 


2 Timothy 1:7

How to Trust God in Tough Times 

                                      Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

How to trust God in Tough Times 

As many of you have heard, or read, “We are living in unprecedented times!”  With the threat of CoronaVirus, COVID-19, we find ourselves trying to make sense of it all.  Some of us may be tempted to panic and react in irrational ways.   In these moments we need to remember how to trust God in tough times. 

For me, during difficult moments of life, my faith in Christ becomes the firm foundation on which I stand.  I strive to practice the following… 

When tough times cause me to doubt, that’s when I need to believe! 

The enemy of our souls would have nothing better to do than to cause followers of Jesus to doubt their faith and trust in God in difficult moments.  It’s easy to do, to be consumed with our problems and the trying circumstances around us.  But that is when we need to remember who we believe in, why we believe and have resolve to keep believing no matter what. 

Psalm 27:13-14 states, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (ESV)” 

The psalmist had an unshakeable faith in his God.  His belief was the underlying current or foundation of all he did.  He was trusting in God’s faithfulness, in God’s fortitude and God’s ability to sustain him and bring blessing!   Doubt would not triumph over his belief! 

When tough times cause me to fear, that’s when I need to rely on God’s strength! 

Fear has a way to rob people of their strength and energy.  When trouble abounds it is easy to allow all the bad stuff to cause us to be afraid, fearful, frightened… which can lead to worry, fretting, and panic.  But in those moments, I must remember and rely on God’s strength. 

David in Psalm 56:3 said, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” The context of this verse, is when David fled and was seized by the Philistines in Gath.   Eugene Peterson in the Message describes David’s plight this way, 

“Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around, stomped on every day. Not a day goes by but somebody beats me up; They make it their duty to beat me up. When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?” (v1-3, MSG) 

David was not having a pleasant time, he was having a difficult time, getting beat up, suffering physical abuse. Yet he does not let fear take over or control him, he cries out to God whom he trusts and becomes fearless! 

When tough times cause me to suffer, that’s when I need to give thanks and rejoice 

Suffering in one way or another can cause one to lose hope and really be ushered in and placed on the doorstep of despair and discouragement.  It’s in those moments that we need to give thanks and rejoice.  I marvel at the testimony of the apostle Paul when he and Silas are able, after being beaten for their faith and witness in Christ, are chained in a prison cell and they are singing hymns and praises to God (See Acts 16:16-40, esp. v.25) That is rejoicing in the midst of suffering! 

We are instructed in scripture, “To give thanks in everything” (I Thess. 5:18), this is God’s will for you and for me.  He desire us to respond, as James has recorded in James 1:2, “To count it all joy when we face various trials of many kinds…”  This is very hard to do.  For me, I pray and ask the Lord to help me be joyful even in the most stressful times, to let Him take my sufferings and let me praise and rejoice in Him while I’m going through it.   I haven’t always been successful, but when I am… there is a sense of confidence and complete victory. 

When tough times cause me to focus on the “wrong things” that is when I need to “fix my eye on Jesus!” 

The writer of the Hebrews, in Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) states that as followers of Jesus we are to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of the faith(v.2)… Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.(v.3 )”  What an example to follow!  When I look at Jesus, see and understand what He went through on my behalf, when I meditate on that, I am strengthened, encouraged, helped and filled with hope.   The Holy Spirit resides in every follower of Jesus Christ and gives them hope.  Faith in Jesus Christ gives you and me hope.  Hope, because I’m looking at the right things and not the wrong things.  As the psalmist says, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” (Psalm 119:37 ESV) 

I need to remember what the Lord has done for me, especially when I am tempted to look and follow worthless things!  He took upon himself all my sin so I could stand before God as one who is righteous (See 2 Cor. 5:21).  He saved me and redeemed me through His death on the cross and His resurrection.  When I think of Jesus, His Spirit helps me keep my eyes on Him. 

In the tough times we can trust God because of His promises in His Word 

One of God’s precious promises is knowing that He is always with us (See Psalm 139 and Matthew 28:20).  God knows when we sit, when we stand.  He knows everything about us.  He also knows that we can’t escape His presence.  He is everywhere.  Theologians call this “omnipresence.”  Isaiah 43:2 states, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”   This is great assurance for every follower of the Lord Jesus, that they can know that God is with them in every situation that they face.  He is with me right now.  He is with you right now.  Doesn’t this make your heart want to trust Him through the tough times?   It does mine! 

How about you?  How does your faith in Christ help you to trust Him in tough times?  Are you needing to trust Him now?  Do you need Him to give you faith, strength, joy and the ability to see Him?  To rely on His promises?  Why not ask Him in prayer? 

I would love to hear how you trust God in tough times.  Drop me an email or comment.  I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. 

Growing together, 


2 Timothy 1:7

Five Proven Ways to Understand Scripture 

                                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Matt Botsford on UnSplash

Lately, you may be finding yourself with a lot of time on your hands, especially with recommended social distancing and quarantine from the COVID-19 Virus.  One way to maneuver and survive during these days of uncertainty is to take the time to study God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  Here are five proven ways that I use personally to help me understand and unlock the Scriptures. 


Begin by reading the Bible systematically.  In other words, start by reading everyday, a select portion of scripture, either book by book, or use a concordance to find a topic and begin there.   The Gospel of Mark is a great place to start.  It has 16 chapters and gives a good overview of the life of Jesus.  There are many Bible Reading plans available to use, to help you keep track on where you are in your journey.  Great Bible Apps, such as YouVersion Bible (  and Bible Gateway ( are available as well, and they suggest certain Bible reading plans in their menu. Also, select a translation that will help you understand what you are reading as you begin, such as the New International Version, or the New Living Translation or maybe the English Standard Version. 


Take time to pray before you read a passage of Scripture.  Prayer is asking God to help you understand what you are reading.  He is the author, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who put the scriptures together (see 1 Peter 1:21).  So why not ask Him for His insight, guidance, direction and understanding.  A simple prayer I pray is, “Lord as I read your Word, help me understand it, show me what I need to know and how to apply it to my life, open up my heart, my mind, my ears to hear you speak, In Jesus Name, Amen.”   God will honor His Word and will speak to you as you take the time to seek Him. (See Jeremiah 29:13). 


As you read, notice any verses and/or words that “jump off” the page!  In other words, you may have read a passage before and missed something, but now as you read it - the words become fresh and alive and they speak to your heart!  Take note of them and write them down.  You can apply the “who, what, where, when, why and how” questions to them.  Who were these verses written to?  Why were they written and when?  Where was this taken place?  Then ask, what do these verses mean for me today?  How does this apply to my life?  For example:  If I was reading the 23rd Psalm and read verse 1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” (KJV). What is this verse saying - it is talking about the Lord as one’s shepherd.  Why does the writer say “I shall not want - or I lack nothing…? Because the Shepherd provides for their flock, the sheep do not have to worry because the shepherd will take care of them.   Who wrote this? David, who was a shepherd.  Why? He compares shepherding with the Lord God as the shepherd over His people.  How does this apply today?  As we trust in the Good Shepherd, Jesus (see John 10), He will provide for us, his sheep (followers). 


Use other translations and Bible commentaries to gain understanding and insight.  Compare scripture with other passages of scripture.  How does the King James Version state this passage?  How does that compare with the New International Version?  the New Living Translation?  J.B. Phillips translation?  The Message?, the New American Standard Version? etc.? You can find these different versions on-line at  Just follow the menu and select the translation that you want to read.  Notice key words that are the same and different.   Another good tool is using a Bible commentary, such as “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” or Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, these are excellent and you can get these resources at 


Journal your thoughts regarding what you have just read.  As those verses “jump out” at you, write them down and then meditate, think about them, and write what you discover.   Make what you are discovering into a prayer that you could pray.  For example, “Thank you Lord that you are my Shepherd, that I can count on you for all my needs…” (Psalm 23:1)  In this way you are applying what you’ve read.  Scripture becomes personal and practical as you think about it throughout your day.  I always enjoy going back and reviewing my prayers - it amazes me what God has said to me through His Word. 


Give it a try and let me know what you think and discover!  Do you have any sure ways of studying and understanding God’s Word?  I always enjoy how others are learning from God’s Word.  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me. 

Growing together, 


2 Timothy 1:7