Bible, Faith

How to Read the Bible

img_2843Followers of Jesus need to be in the Bible every day. We are told regularly to read The Bible. What should we read? How do we read the Bible? Where to begin can be overwhelming. If you’ve been a Christian for a long time, you may wonder what to read next. Maybe you want to study in a different way.

Thank God that the Bible has never ending wisdom and knowledge to gain. Just because you’ve read it all the way through many times, does not mean you’ve got it all figured out. That is impossible. We will be seeking truth in God’s Holy Word the rest of our lives. There is always something new to learn regardless of how learned we are. God will never stop revealing Himself in His Word.

Some Bible Basics:

There are 66 books of the Bible compiled into one volume with two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Old Testament

Law

 

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy

 

 

History

 

Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel 
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther

 

Poetry

 

Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs

 

Prophecy

 

Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zachariah
Malachi

New Testament

Jesus

 

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John

 

History

 

Acts

 

Letters

 

Romans
1 & 2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 & 2 Peter
1,2,3 John
Jude

 

 

End Times

 

Revelation

 

 

The Bible is about relationships.The Old Testament is about God’s relationship to His chosen people, Israel. The New Testament is about God’s relationship to the world through Jesus Christ.

The Bible has one theme. God’s passionate pursuit of a rebellious people.

When reading the Bible follow these steps.

1. Rely on the Holy Spirit. We cannot properly read and understand God’s Word without the Holy Spirit. Ask God what He wants to teach you today. Thank Him for who He is and humble yourself before the Lord.

17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.     John 14:17, ESV

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.   John 14:25-26, ESV 

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.                 John 15:26, ESV

2.  Engage in a passage. Choose a book of the Bible to complete. Start in The New Testament with John, or any of the four Gospels. Or, start with a short book like Philippians or James.

Use the four “C‘s”

Chief people – Who is writing, receiving, or any other important names.

Challenges – What words, phrases or sentences don’t you understand. Underline them and write them down in a notebook.

Crucial Words – What words or phrases are repeated? Any comparisons/contrasts?

Cool Verse – What verse summarizes your study for the week? Underline that verse and memorize it.

 

3. Ask: Who is God? As you read through the verses look for any reference to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Look for His name, personal pronouns or His activities. Underline them.

Fill in the blank:

God is ___________

God _____________

4. Dialogue with God. Talk with Him. Pray.

Do I believe this about you? Why?

What truth do I need to remember about you? 

What are you doing that I need to be a part of?

How does what I read apply to me? In my relationships, work, school, etc.

Do I have unconfessed sin? Or areas of unbelief? 

Rely

Engage

Ask

Diaologue

This is a very basic breakdown of the books of the Bible and how to read it. This does not cover every thought, or idea on the Bible and Bible study. It’s simply a starting point. Most of this information came from a handout I received from my church years ago.

You will need a Bible that you can write in and highlight. Don’t be afraid to write in the Bible. Also, a notebook can be quite helpful to write down thoughts, questions, or what God spoke to you.

There are many versions of the Bible. I will not go into detail, in this post, on Bible translations. There are three main versions:

Word-for-word: NASB, ESV, NET, KJV, NKV

Thought-for-thought: CSB, NIV, NLT

Paraphrase: NIRV, MSG, GNT,

That’s not every translation. There are numerous ones. I like to use several. My favorite is my old, beat up, 1978 New International Version. It was my Mom’s when she was a brand new Believer.

I pray you will pick up your Bible today and read it. Hopefully with new eyes and new passion. It’s the most exciting book you will ever read.

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12, ESV

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, Food, Uncategorized

Millionaire’s Shortbread

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One bite of this rich dessert won’t make you wealthy, but it will make you smile. Buttery shortbread crust, a soft caramel center, topped with dark chocolate, and a sprinkle of sea salt make this bar worth a million. I would pay top dollar at a bakery for this delicacy.

Do you like Twix candy bars? This decadent little bar is similar, but even better than the store bought treat. It’s worth the effort to make these indulgent goodies. The trickiest part is the caramel. If you cook the caramel for too long it will be tough. It’s also quite easy to burn caramel. Just follow the directions for the caramel, and you’ll do fine.

Let me encourage you in your cooking and baking endeavors. Each winter I teach a cooking class to kids ages twelve and up. My students this year, most of whom had never cooked, made this recipe. They did a phenomenal job. There was no burned caramel. The kids all cooked it beautifully. If they can do it, and I can do it, you can do it too. 

Millionaire’s shortbread is a special treat that lives up to its name. Make it for your family, your friends, your neighbors, or anyone who could use some happiness. Chocolate and caramel are always a winning combination.

Happy Eating!

 

Delight yourself in the Lord,

 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 

 

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Millionaire’s Shortbread

 

Shortbread Crust

¾ cup butter (softened)

⅓ cup sugar

1 ⅓ cup flour

 

Caramel

½ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar 

½ cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons regular pancake syrup 

 

Chocolate

1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon butter 

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with foil or parchment and leave enough over the edges to create a sling. This will make it easy to take it out of the pan and cut into bars.

3. Make the shortbread crust:

Mix the butter, sugar, and flour with a spoon until small crumbs form. Press evenly into the bottom of your pan.

Bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Cool completely before adding caramel.

4. Make the caramel:

In a medium saucepan place butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and syrup. Heat everything on low heat until the butter melts. Then turn up the heat to medium/medium high & bring it to a boil. Stir continually. (Be careful because caramel can burn easily) Once it’s at a boil, turn down to a simmer and stir continually until caramel turns an amber color & is slightly thickened. Turn off the heat & immediately pour hot caramel over the cooled crust. Cool before adding the chocolate.

5. Melt the chocolate:

Combine the chocolate and butter in an oven safe glass bowl. Melt in the microwave for 90 seconds total. Stop every 30 second and stir the chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel layer. Let it set up completely before cutting. 

Optional: top with sea salt.

 

Notes

*Make the crust and cool completely before you make the caramel. If not, the crust will tear when you add the caramel.

*If the caramel gets little brown bits, it’s OK, it will still taste good.

*Place the shortbread in the refrigerator between layers to speed up cooling.

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You can read this article at the link below, and get all of my recipes on Mustard Seed Sentinel. Go to More and scroll down to Meghan’s Corner.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-millionaire-s-shortbread

Bible, Faith, Trials, Uncategorized

Need A Fresh Start?

silhouette of mountains

Do you ever wish there was a reset button in life? Things are just going downhill and it sure would be nice to start over again. There is good news for you. Today, right now, you can start again. Each day is a fresh start. A gift from the Lord. He knew we needed beginnings and endings, each and every day. Doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem or issue disappears the next day, but it can mean a renewal of your attitude and faith.

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV 

 

I can’t help but think of Chuck Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship, when needing a restart comes to mind. Chuck was one of President Nixon’s right hand men, and went to prison for his involvement in Watergate. Chuck met Jesus and accepted Him as Savior, and eventually started a world renowned prison ministry. That’s a spectacular fresh start. Only God would do something so magnificent with something so ugly.

Moses had a few fresh starts during his life. He flees Egypt after killing an Egyptian who had beaten one of his fellow Hebrews. Moses then becomes a shepherd and starts a new life in the desert. Years later God talks to Moses from a burning bush. God tells Moses that he’s sending him to Pharoah to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. (Exodus 3) That is a historic fresh start. Definitely a hard job, that changes the course of history.

Moses was not asking for that fresh start. God had other plans. Sometimes we think everything is going fine. Like Moses, maybe we want to hide out in the desert and give ourselves a fresh start. But God shows up and surprises us. God always has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. 

Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB

Is there a destructive habit that needs to stop in your life?

Maybe there’s an ugly attitude.

Is there a strain in one of your significant relationships? Marriage, kids, family, friends.

Do you need to forgive someone?

Do you need to apologize and ask for forgiveness?

I’m not suggesting you can instanly fix everything. Only God can change hearts, minds, and attitudes. And time travel is not an option to go back and make changes.

The one thing you can change is you.

Your fresh start begins the moment you surrender it all to Jesus. It takes humilty to lay it at the Lord’s feet and ask for His help.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10, NIV 

Every single moment is an opportunity to start again.

If you’ve never asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, you can change that right now, today. God is drawing you to Jesus.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:44, NIV

If you need a fresh start, it begins right now. You can choose.

Love you all,

Meghan

P.S. If you need prayer please go to my contact page and send me an email.

 

 

 

https://www.prisonfellowship.org/
Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com
Faith, Food, Uncategorized

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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I love soup. It’s hearty, and can be loaded with all sorts of goodness. This one has shredded chicken, black beans, corn, cilantro, and a few other ingredients that make a filling meal. Some soups can be bland and mushy. Chicken tortilla soup is flavorful and scrumptious. No soggy soup here.

This lovely soup comes together pretty quick. You can easily make this on a busy weeknight. As long as your chicken is already cooked, you’re good to go. If you’ve got some leftover chicken on hand that would work too. 

One pot meals are some of my favorites. No cooking multiple things all at once. Juggling the oven, and the stove top can be a challenge. I cook like that quite often, and I don’t mind it. But, using the same pot for the entire meal is such a nice break from the norm. 

This particular version of chicken tortilla soup calls for hominy, which is dried corn kernels that are soaked in an alkaline solution. Basically, hominy is big puffy corn. I do not use hominy for this soup since it’s not at my local Aldi. Instead, I use white beans as a replacement. If you like hominy, or you’re just curious, give it a try. 

Something that I add to make this recipe even more delicious, is homemade tortilla strips. It’s worth the extra time to fry up your own tortillas. The flavor and richness that the fresh tortilla’s add is mouthwatering. If you are not up for that, just add store bought tortilla chips to the soup. Still very good and easy. 

Enjoy this fantastic soup.

Happy Eating!

Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. 

Matthew 4:4

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves of minced garlic

1 diced onion

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes

1 (32 oz.) container chicken broth 

1 cup water

3 to 4 boneless, skinless, cooked chicken breast (shredded)

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained

1 cup whole kernel corn

1 cup hominy or 1 (15 oz.) can white beans

1 (4 oz.) can green chiles 

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

homemade tortilla strips 

sliced avocado

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  1. In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook until soft.
  2. Add oregano, chili powder, tomatoes, chicken broth, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the shredded chicken, black beans, corn, hominy or white beans, and cilantro to the pot. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While the soup is cooking make your tortilla strips.
  5. Serve up the soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips, sliced avocado, Jack cheese, and cilantro.

Notes:

 

  • Always taste while you are cooking. Check if salt is needed, especially if low-sodium broth is used.
  • Add onions, black olives, or sour cream for toppings.

 

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Homemade Tortilla Strips

 

4 to 6 6-inch corn tortillas

¼ cup (approximately) vegetable oil

salt

  1. Slice tortillas into ½ inch strips.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil has a shimmer and coats the bottom of the pan it’s ready.
  4. Cook tortilla strips in small batches for a couple of minutes per side. Turn them once they stiffen up and are golden brown. 
  5. The tortilla strips cook quickly.
  6. Place cooked strips on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

 

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Check out my monthly column at Mustard Seed Sentinel.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-chicken-tortilla-soup

Holy Spirit, Jesus, Uncategorized

From Glory to Glory

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This caterpillar has been hanging out on my parsley for several days. They are sometimes called parsley caterpillars. Soon, it will form it’s cocoon, and emerge as an eastern black swallowtail butterfly. It’s going to be fun to watch the transformation. I’m eagerly awaiting the beautiful butterfly that will appear.

Yes, this caterpillar is eating my parsley right now. It’s not going to make a dent though. My parsley is the size of a shrub, so there’s plenty to spare. It will be worth it to have a butterfly that is both gorgeous, and useful to help with pollinating. I wonder if this little creature knows what’s coming.

If he knew he was about to get some amazing wings, maybe he would hurry into his cocoon.

I feel like this caterpillar at times. Completely content with where I’m at. Just hanging out and thinking everything is just fine. I don’t want God to shake things up by putting me in a cocoon. That sounds terrible. Can’t I just hang out and eat parsley all day with sunshine on my back?

God won’t allow me to stay where I’m at. He sees things I cannot. God knows everything, and knows what going into the cocoon will do for me. God wants me to get those beautiful wings and fly.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior, that’s just the beginning. God wants us to be like Jesus. Live like Him. Love like Him. Forgive like Him. Follow the Father like Him.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NIV) 

 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2, NIV)

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6, NIV)

Yes I want to be more like Jesus, but that’s a tall order. On my own, that’s impossible.

This transformation happens through the power of the Holy Spirit in each believer. I have zero ability to become like Jesus in my own strength. It would be phony. A fully surrendered life to Jesus brings that transforming power.

We get saved by grace through faith in Jesus, and then He begins to work on us. Clean us up. Heal us. Set us free. It’s not easy work though. It can be quite painful. There are times when we have to go into the cocoon and wait, and be transformed.

We get impatient. Restless. It’s too hard. We try to break out of the cocoon too early.

When we trust God and His transforming work in us, we get the most lovely wings. We end up a little more like Jesus each time. There will be lots of cocoons in our lifetimes before we end up in the ultimate glorious place, heaven.

He’s changing us. So hold on to Him. Be patient and trust the tramsformative work He is doing.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB)

Love you all,
Meghan