My Crazy Devotional Adventure

My crazy devotional adventure started with an answered prayer. Each year for 40 days, I challenge myself and deepen my faith. And so, I remember praying “God, what do you want me to give up for the next 40 days.” Maybe you have prayed this too?

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Expecting the usual coffee, sugar, or food answer… I was frustrated when my heart tugged with an answer I did not like. It felt like the answer was to read daily devotionals. Then I prayed for discernment on which devotional to read, and I did not like the answer: “Ten per day.”

The rebellious child inside my heart immediately disagreed. And so, I tried to negotiate myself out of this crazy adventure. I wanted a traditional 40 day fast and not something weird. But the more I wanted to fast from sugar or bread, the stronger the conviction was to read devotional books,

Read 10 Devotions a Day For the Next 40 Days

My threshold for boredom and attention to busyness were bookends of complaint. These thoughts were persistent. Yet sitting in the quiet place of my prayer room, it was not negotiable. I knew I would now read a total of 400 devotions. Ugh.

After the first week, I noticed the words in these ten books were blurring together. They were not feeding my soul or guiding my day. Although I selected different authors and themes, my reading became routine. Boring.

The remedy was to split my books into two stacks of five, then read five in the morning and five more in the evening. It was a bit easier. But I wrestled with reasoning “why” I was on this crazy adventure.

After my 40 days were complete, I archived the ten devotional books back onto my bookshelf. It was a strange calling, and yet I faithfully obeyed.

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.” -Jeremiah 30:2 NIV

Now, years later, I am blissfully writing my own devotional books. Perhaps, God had a plan and a purpose.

He was teaching me sentence structure, format, emotion, and message. What an amazing Father, to know my every need.

Be Blessed!

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.

 

Discernment in the Bible

Join me in a Bible Cafe™ study group, and you’ll find some interesting conversations. Today we discussed discernment in the Gideon Bible Study. As I listened to one of the participants share her life story, I thought more about her words. And so, we pulled out Bible dictionaries and researched the meaning of discernment in the Bible. It seemed like a good time to practice what we learned. In Bible study, this is called “application” as we seek to apply the Scriptures to our life.

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After agreeing on the meaning of discernment in the Bible, I asked, “When do you plan on writing books?” Because she has a long history of working in the education system, it seems likely she has a heart for children. Her expression on the other side of the Zoom screen was priceless! This has been on her mind since she retired five years ago.

We continued our conversation about her hesitancy to publish books. Like many people, she wondered if she was ‘called” to write, or if this was her own will and desire. We talked about this with our small group and saw how Gideon struggled with discernment too. In the well-known Bible story, Gideon lays out the fleece and asks God for a sign. He is unable to discern God’s will because of his novice spirituality. He was not struggling with unbelief. Discernment is the opportunity to seek God for confirmation.

Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water. (Judges 6:36-38 NLT)

As my friend in Bible study shared her testimony, I asked her another question: “Do you want to take your testimony to publication (writing or blogging) or the grave? That’s not hard to answer. She knows her Bible and she knows Jesus. Without hesitation, she quoted the Scriptures about giving testimony.

Do you want to take your testimony to publication or the grave?

As a group, we examined our hearts and answered this same question. Once we realize we are living for today- not the grave- our hesitancies evaporate. We move forward, share our stories, and give glory to God. Our love for Jesus inspires us to give a testimony.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.

Virtual Online Bible Studies

This week at the international Bible Cafe™ I joyfully participated in several virtual groups. On Monday morning I joined a small group discussion for Gideon. We met with Elder Sheila Edens-Brown for an introduction, learned something about our group members, and committed to the reading assignment for the week. 

Monday evening, Missionary Mom Stasia Nielsen launched her introduction for a study on Philippians: What Matters Most. We gathered virtually to meet Stasia in Mexico, where she leads small group discussions from her living room. She encouraged us to share something about ourselves, so we could get comfortable with the virtual Bible study format.

Tuesday morning I met with my group to discuss One in a Million. This life changing study has impacted each of us in different areas of our life. Once again I was reminded how much this study presses upon my heart. While two million people were invited into the Promised Land, only TWO entered! The path requires several steps, which we talked about in our virtual Bible study group. Incredible study and I am thankful we uploaded the content from our study so other people can access it on-demand.

Virtual Bible Studies Happening Now 

Tuesday evening I joined Dotsi Campbell for her virtual study called Armor of God. This spiritual warfare study is not to be missed. Each week with Dotsi, we discuss the Ephesians 6 spiritual armor. Wise words sprinkled with Dotsi humor have made this a memorable experience. We are finishing the study next week, but the teaching videos from Dotsi are available on-demand at the Bible Cafe™ University.

Wednesday morning I gathered at the virtual  Bible Cafe™ to discuss Gideon. This time I joined Janella Cantu-Myricks as a group leader. She has great insight and wisdom. And so we learn from her testimonies and teachings.

This committed leader shows up and overcomes her spiritual attacks. I remember the morning of the FIRST group she was leading, Janella was in an auto accident with her grandkids. Gratefully, nobody was injured in either car.

This week, Janella had a painful fall, broke her glasses, and injured her eye. As her voice and beautiful spirit become more visible, she experiences the inconveniences of spiritual warfare. And so our virtual Bible study group has been praying for her, nonstop!

More Virtual Bible Studies 

Thursday night I joined a study with Sonya Morris Nelson called Lies Women Believe. Its an updated version of a study we all enjoy. Author Nancy DeMoss applies biblical truths to modern lies. Sonya helps us see the truths from the Bible. 

Friday morning I met with my group of virtual Bible study women. Dotsi and myself have been gathering with this group for several studies. Currently, we are discussing Gideon.

Fill your cups at the virtual Bible Cafe™ we have a seat waiting for you.
Everyone is welcome. 

FREE Online Womens Bible Study Groups

A blended family- we LOVE Online Women’s Bible Study Groups because of their uniqueness.

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FREE Online Women’s Bible Study Groups at the Bible Cafe™ where we study, connect and grow. The international Bible Cafe™ community offers a small group experience online. We meet through social learning groups. Our team of volunteer leaders will guide you through weekly discussion questions, prayer, and fellowship.

How to Join Online Womens Bible Study Groups

Step 1: Bible study groups meet in cycles of 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, or 12 weeks.

Because Online Women’s Bible Study Groups are discussing a specific theme, your DOOR to join will be every 2-3 months. The best advice is to join when you see a NEW study is “coming soon.” We promote our studies six weeks before we start.

Step 2: Get the study book.

Most study books/workbooks are available on Amazon, Christian Book, stores Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, or Kindle. We do our best to select books in digital format so you are not paying international shipping fees.

One of our Bible Cafe™ Directors is a missionary living in Mexico. She has completed nearly 100 online Bible study groups! Another leader is doing these studies with her adult granddaughter and they share using Apple Books.

Step 3: Join the Online Women’s Bible Study Group.

FREE Bible Cafe™ groups meet in a social learning group on Facebook. We meet here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCSmallGroups

Step 4: Select the day and time you want to join us.

Our Facebook groups are free. Find the small group schedule posted at the top of the page, about 2-weeks before the study begins. Select the dayhttps://www.biblecafe.org/join and the time you want to join the Online Women’s Bible Study Group. We meet mornings, afternoons, evenings, and weekends.  **Please note the phone/video groups are NOT free. These meet at Bible Cafe™ University

On the day and time you have selected, visit the social learning group and look for your GROUP PHOTO. The leader will post a photo with the day, time, leader name, and study name. She will post discussion questions under the photo and you will discuss the questions with your group members. Each group is one hour long.

The first meeting is an INTRODUCTION week. In this meeting, you will meet the leaders and learn about Online Women’s Bible Study Groups’ work. Come join us! Our groups are a blend of beginner to advanced Bible study students. We are diverse in age, denominations, locations, relationship status, and more.

 

Small Group Leadership Resources

Bible Cafe™ Ministries has led more than 100 online Bible studies from some of the most popular Christian Bible teachers. We help people Study, Connect and Grow. Through our membership site we have resources for individual Bible study, church small groups, or home group experiences. To help you lead a Bible study group, we found these resource articles, podcasts and books. We recommend reading at least two leadership books each year to keep your skills refreshed.

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Helpful Books for Small Group Leadership

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A to Z Bible Study Tips from the Bible Cafe™ Community

After leading 100 online Bible studies, we learned what helps you study the Bible. Bible Cafe™ members have suggested these helpful tips. Arranged from A to Z. These Bible study tips are helpful for beginners and experienced learners. When you share our list of A to Z Bible study tips please remember to attribute the list to our community members! They have experienced what works best for Bible study.

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A-Z BIBLE STUDY TIPS

Always Pray: Before you begin the daily lessons or join small groups, pray. Invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate the key concepts and to help you apply the lesson to your own life.

Apply: To get the most from reading the Bible, learn to apply what you discover. Look for application methods. Pray about the meaning and the application for todays modern world.

Audio Bibles: Download a free audio Bible from BibleGateway.com and listen to the scriptures. You will find this helpful for names and places that are difficult to pronounce. Use it to improve your memory and understanding.

Basket: Keep a study basket with your Bible, notepaper, journal, study book, prayer cards an, color pens and pencils.

Beginning: In the cover of your study book, write the day you are beginning the study. Journal why you decided to study this topic or write a short letter to God.

Comparison: Do your best and do not compare yourself to someone you think has better answers. We each have different experiences and needs. God will speak to each of us in different and unique ways through our study.

Community:  Pray for your Bible study community. The most successful Bible study groups are knitted together through prayer. Write prayer cards for each member of your group, and during the week pray for her by name.

Dates: Place the dates and times you will work on your study into your calendar as an appointment with Jesus. Set alarms and remind you this is an important event.

Expectations: Be careful on your expectations with your Bible studies. There are many study formats and each ministry have a unique method of teaching.  Attend the introduction session or launch party and discover the methods being used.

Falling Behind: If you fall behind on the lessons, come to the groups. You will benefit from the discussion and the focused topic even if you have not read the lesson for the week.  There is no shame in falling behind on the study.

Five Daily Lessons: There are five daily lessons in most Bible study workbooks. Plan to complete one lesson per day Monday through Friday. If you miss a day due to illness or a schedule conflict, you have the weekend to complete the missing lesson.

God: Our focus for each Bible study experience God. Make sure when you read the Bible you look for revelation about God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Learn about His heart and His will. Cultivate a Biblical view that surpasses the temptations of a worldview.

Habit Stacking:  Look at an existing habit you are doing now: such as drinking coffee/tea, feeding the cat, walking the dog, or driving kids to school. Stack your Bible study immediately after the existing habit! This helps you create regular time for God in your daily schedule.

Intentional: Be intentional about your Bible study time. Say no to the worldview distractions of social media and television, until after you have finished your daily Bible lesson. Learn to recognize the voice of God, through reading His Word.

Jesus: Bible study is discovering Jesus through the Old and New Testament. Make room for Him in your life. Seek Jesus and know His voice as you read the red letters.

Journal: Keep a prayer journal, gratitude journal or Scripture journal. Record what God is doing in your life throughout this study.

Kids Are Watching: Your kids (and husband) are watching as you dedicate time to Bible study. They observe your relationship with Jesus and your commitment to learn. They see you make God a priority in your busy life. They watch you chose a Biblical view over a worldview.

Leaders: Do not elevate the leaders or Bible study authors into positions of idolatry. The purpose of Bible study is to draw closer to God, not to an author, ministry, or leader.

Learn: Become a self-feeder of God’s Word. Do not depend on others to keep you accountable.

Memory Verses: Get a 3 x 5 spiral index card system and write down your memory verses. Or record your memory verses with the memo feature on a smart phone. Write then on the bathroom mirror. Make them visible.

Monday Start: Begin the workbook lessons on Monday each week, regardless of when your small group is meeting. This helps you maintain a consistent reading schedule Monday through Friday.

Music: Some women enjoy soothing music as they study and read the Bible. YouTube, Spotify, and streaming music have playlists with “instrumental Christian” music. If you struggle to focus, look for background music specifically designed for ADD/ADHD.

Name: Add your name into the Bible verses and personalize it. For example: (your name) can do all things with Christ who strengthens her.

One: We have an audience of One in prayer and study. An intimate relationship with God is one on one!

Prioritize: If you wait until you are exhausted at the end of the day, your Bible study will not get done. Know when you are most alert and prioritize your time to study during that time each day.

Quiet Places: Sometimes it helps to find a quiet place without interruption. Do not try to study at the kitchen table while your family is watching television.

Quotes: When you find a powerful quote in your Bible or study book, mark the letter Q beside the sentence. At the end of your study, copy those quotes down and share them on social media or in your small group discussions.

Remember: Look for at least one key point to remember each day of your personal Bible study. What is the Lord teaching you today? How can you apply it today? If you journal, write this down: God, what do you want me to remember today?

Research: Sometimes you will want to research a lesson deeper. Use online sites such as BlueLetterBible.org to find original Greek and Hebrew words. You may want to buy a commentary or Strong’s Concordance for home use.

Slow Down: Read and reread the verses until you understand them.  Sometimes you may need to stay on the same page for longer than usual, as you allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the lesson for you.

Small Groups: You’re going to connect with women in small groups and develop friendships! Get a prayer journal or prayer box going and each week write down their names and prayer needs. Begin to celebrate answered prayers, intercede on difficult prayers, and watch Jesus move. This is your spiritual family with sisters in Christ. Get to know them.

Spiritual Warfare: When you draw closer to God through Bible study, the devil comes near to. He will tempt you with discouragement, deception, and distrust. Pray through this and ask your small group to pray for you too.

Theology: You’ll find different theologies in non-denominational study groups. Look for the lowest common denominator where you find agreement. Encourage one another to ask your pastor, priest, minister, or rabbi for further clarification on theological issues.

Tote Bags: If you seem to spend a lot of time waiting (carpool, doctor appointments, kids’ events) then carry a tote bag with your study book, markers, and pens.

Translations: There are numerous Bible translations today. Look at the verses through different translations and see how they are interpreted.  Consider a parallel Bible for long term use.

Unfinished Work: God can teach you things even with unfinished Bible studies. Keep challenging yourself with each new study. God is more interested in time and relationship with you than He is in a perfectly completed workbook!

Verses: When a Bible verse touches your heart, write it down. Anchor yourself to God’s Word.

View: Keep your Bible study materials in view, ready to go. Do not stash them in a corner pile.

Word Associations: Pay attention to the pictures and metaphors used in the Bible. They are helpful tools for remembering and understanding.

X Mark: Use a Bible reading plan and place an X mark on those books which you have studied and read.

Your Own Voice: Use the memo feature on your smartphone and record the Scripture memory verse in your own voice.

Zone: Bible study is a no-shame zone. Share within your comfort level but do not feel that you must expose your deepest secrets online or in person.

Zoom: Remote Bible study groups meet by phone or video, using Zoom. Install the Zoom software on your computer, tablet, or phone before the first meeting. Test the lighting, sound, and background. Watch the tutorials on how to use Zoom.

Related Articles with MORE Bible Study Tips

Bible Study Tips

Now that you have read our list of Bible study tips, come learn with us. See how we lead online Bible study and apply these Bible study tips.