Bible Lessons, Old Testament

Adam & Eve

History is full of men & women who have reshaped our world in one way or another. But no two people have turned history so significantly or as permanently as the first man & woman: Adam & Eve.

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As you look at the life of Adam & Eve in the second chapter of Genesis, you can ask yourself two key questions:

What do I learn about God?
What do I learn about myself & my relationship with God?

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Bible Lessons, Old Testament

Creation (Part 2)

God didn’t create anything to leave it empty.

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My daughter and I went to one of those pottery painting places, feeling creative and optimistic about our Pinterest-inspired intricate design plans.  We both chose to paint oversized coffee mugs, and after they had been fired in the kiln, we were pretty smitten with our creations.  The first thing we did was to fill them with ice cream and enjoy what we had made!  We hadn’t spent all that time carefully painting useless display mugs that would just sit empty; we were excited to enjoy what we had created.

God didn’t create anything to leave it empty. He created the heavens and the earth, and then He filled them up with plants and trees, the sun and moon and stars, fish and birds and all kinds of animals. After He had spoken all of nature into being, He looked at all of His creation and saw that it was good.

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Bible Lessons, Old Testament

Creation (Part 1)

The beginning is a good place to start.   
 "The Beginning" Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.
If you’ve ever decided to read through the Bible, then you’ve probably read the story of Creation because it’s right there at the beginning of the book. It’s a good place to start because it will give you a knowledge-base to build on as you learn more about the Bible.

 

The Creation story answers some of life’s biggest questions like, “Where did we come from, and why are we here?” But in order to find the answers to these big questions, you will want to do more than just read the words on the page.

It’s the difference between reading and studying scripture.

When you study scripture, you interact with it by asking questions and taking notes. You engage scripture by drawing a picture in your mind or on paper of what the scene may have looked like. You look at it from different points of view so that you can be sure to discover the meaning of the scripture you’re studying.

Asking yourself two basic questions will help you move from reading to studying the Creation story:

Two Questions
What do I learn about God?
What do I learn about myself & my relationship with God?

Genesis 1:1 (NIV)
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

First Question: What do you learn about God in the first verse?

God is eternal – At the beginning of recorded time, He was already in existence.
If you’d like to read more about how God has always existed, check out https://answersingenesis.org/answers/biblical-authority-devotional/where-does-god-live/what-was-god-doing-before-creation/

God is Creator – He creates something from nothing.

Genesis 1:2-5 (NIV)
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.
God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day.”

Continue reading “Creation (Part 1)”

Bible Lessons, New Testament

The Lord’s Prayer

If you have questions about prayer, you’re in good company.

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If you’ve ever worked up the nerve to ask the question, “How do I pray?” then you’ve probably gotten an answer like, “Praying is easy! It’s just talking to God.” Or, “Everyone knows how to pray!” But everyone doesn’t know how to pray.

Even Jesus’ closest friends asked Him how to pray. They spent a lot of time with Him, saw Him perform miracles, talked with Him about life, and heard Him teach, but they still had questions about prayer.

Jesus’ answer to the question, “How do I pray?” is known as the Lord’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:9-12
The King James Version reads like this…

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Maybe you memorized this prayer when you were young, or you’ve heard a grandparent recite it at the dinner table on holidays.

Let’s take a closer look at this model prayer by breaking it down line by line.

Our Father…

The Lord’s Prayer starts by addressing God as “Our Father.” This is super important because when you call someone by name, the name you use creates a relational context. It makes a statement about the nature of the relationship you have with another person.

My name is Rene Clark, but not everyone calls me by that name. My kids call me, “Mom,” my nieces and nephews call me, “Nay Nay,” my students call me, “Mrs. Clark,” and my husband calls me, “Babe.” (Love ballads by Styx deeply influenced our relationship in the ‘80s.)

Continue reading “The Lord’s Prayer”

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Think like a Beginner

Bible Basics started when I met a group of friends who wanted to study the Bible but weren’t sure where to begin.  When it came to looking up a book, chapter and verse, they felt lost.  Weekend sermons left them confused when the pastor would refer to a Bible story “everyone knows,” but they weren’t familiar with it.  They were unsure about a lot of things, but they hadn’t found a safe place to seek help.  When it came to Bible study, they were beginners.

So I offered a 4-day boot camp to do sort of a crash course in Bible basics.  This Bible Basics Boot Camp turned out to be a fun way to develop their muscles when it came to lifting the Sword of God’s Word  (Hebrews 4:12), and it launched a study that now meets once a week.

I have a heart for beginners.

I have a heart for beginners.  I taught middle school Language Arts for a while. It could never compare to teaching true beginners in a kindergarten class, but a student’s first year of middle school is a year that feels like starting over with locker combinations, changing hormones, new friendships and insecurities about whether or not school is cool anymore.  Middle school students are their own brand of beginners who are so much fun to teach when you treat them with respect like they’re in high school but give them grace like they’re still in elementary school.  My job as their teacher was to get them all caught up on grammar and writing skills so that they could be confident as they progressed through school.

So I thought about these ladies as beginners when it came to Bible study, and I determined to help get them all caught up.  There are some basic truths and Bible stories that everyone assumes all Christians already know, like the 10 Commandments or the Lord’s Prayer.  But some of my new friends didn’t grow up in church, and some of them were never taught to study the Bible on their own.  They were beginning to feel behind with no hope of catching up.  So I took the Bible stories I’d learned through Sunday School songs and flannel graphs, the study tools I’d learned in college, and the experience I’d gained as a teacher and came up with a Bible study that would cover the major Old Testament stories while drawing connections to Jesus in the New Testament.

Bible Basics has become a way to get caught up on Bible stories and study tools that were missed somewhere along the way.  My hope is to help everyone feel comfortable and confident navigating their own Bibles so that they can get closer to Jesus.  I think Jesus has a heart for beginners, too.  He spent most of His ministry years teaching 12 friends who weren’t sure where to begin, but who were willing to follow Him and learn from Him.