For many people, a change of seasons is a time to look back with satisfaction and look forward with eager expectation. But for some, it can bring an onslaught of anxiety. We can calm anxiety with God’s power, even during a time of transition when we cast off comfort and familiarity, trading them for the new and unfamiliar. Sadly, things we look forward to can bring dreadful feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and apprehension—but they don’t have to!
By trusting in God’s power, we can calm anxiety naturally so that we can enjoy—rather than dread— things like new goals, challenges, jobs, upcoming family changes, the anticipation of forthcoming weddings, births, milestone birthdays, and other celebrations.
Focus on God to Calm Anxiety
During any time of year, one significant way to calm anxiety is to fix our focus firmly on the Lord. It’s important to remember that when we feel anxious we’re allowing our circumstance to take a higher priority in our lives than the character God and our relationship and reliance on Him. The solution is to refocus and allow God’s truth to fill our hearts and minds. This allows us to calm anxiety now.
How to Calm Anxiety Naturally
Today we kick off a short blog series to discover how to calm anxiety naturally by leaning on the truth of God. In each post we’ll examine how the Bible can calm anxiety, providing a daily Bible verse in which the Holy Spirit points to peace and calm in the Lord’s presence.
Today’s Bible Verse About Fear and Worry
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment (HCSB).
In different Bible translations, the term fearfulness is expressed as fear, timidity, and even cowardice. It conveys a lack of bravery, courage, and confidence. The Lord did not give us such a disposition. Instead, as this verse teaches, God provides us with a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment.
The verse says that God has given us power. We do not find power in our own strength, but through the power of Jesus Christ that resides in us. This is the same power that raised our Lord from the dead (see Ephesians 1:19-20). Such power is capable of far more than we can imagine, giving us the strength to face all circumstances, and even calm anxiety.
God also gives us love, which is the greatest of Christian qualities. It’s not fleshly, emotion-based love, rather it’s the perfect love of Christ, which as 1 Corinthians 13:7 states, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (HCSB). This love helps us withstand trails, difficulties, fears, and anxiety.
Lastly, God provides sound judgment, sometimes translated as self-control. This encompasses our thoughts as much as our actions. Although it seems out of reach, we have the divinely-given ability to see ourselves as Jesus does: powerful and able as we walk in His strength.
Overcoming Anxiety with God
As your stay mindful today to calm anxiety with God’s power, work toward memorizing 2 Timothy 1:7. Write it on a notecard or in your journal, then say it repeatedly until it begins to sink deep into not only your mind but your spirit. As you do, the truth of God will wash over your anxiety and bring you His perfect peace.
This post is part of a series. In invite you to read the next article about calming anxiety before bed.
Have a blessed, calm, and peaceful day as you allow the Word of the Lord to give you strength.
If you’re like me, you might be feeling a bit unsettled these days, wondering how to find and embrace inner peace. There’s one thing that’s helped me immensely and that’s drawing near to God. My ultimate favorite way to do that is through Bible Study. I receive a lot of questions about how to get started, so I decided to post these helpful tips for Bible study beginners.
If this is your first step into learning God’s Word, allow me to be the first to say welcome to Bible study! Knowing some basic information will help you persevere, and will hopefully set a fire in your heart for learning more about God through the Bible. So let’s start at the beginning.
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Why is Bible Study Important for Beginners?
Before beginning any endeavor, it’s important to understand why you’re starting. Your “why” will help you push through when it doesn’t feel easy, or in the case of Bible study, when you’d rather press your snooze button and get a few extra minutes of sleep. Here are some compelling reasons why Bible study is important:
We learn about God.
The Bible reveals who God is and shows His character. Sometimes it seems the world portrays God as a mean judge, constantly trying to catch us making mistakes. As you open His Word, however, that’s not what you’ll find at all. You’ll begin to see His true nature as a loving Father, a helpful Guide, and a beloved friend.
The Bible is a Plumbline of Truth.
There’s a lot of noise in our society, and lots of people offering their opinions on every subject imaginable. It’s always important to have a baseline of truth from which to consider the opinions of others. God’s Word is truth (see John 17:17). When we know and understand His truth, it strengthens our daily decisions, improves our relationships, and delivers inner peace.
We discover God’s love for us.
Bible study is especially important for beginners who want to discover how God sees them as His children. Through God’s Word, I discover that I am His child, He loves me unconditionally, I never disappoint Him, and that He values me just as I am—so much that His Son willingly sacrificed His life for me. As you dig into His Word, you’ll realize He feels just the same about you
What is the Best Way for Beginners to Study the Bible?
While there are many methods of Bible study, the best way for beginners to study the is to. . .
- Observe the Text by slowly reading and examining what it says.
- Interpret the Text by looking up meanings of words in the original language and taking context into consideration. Even beginners can do this easily with Bible apps like Strong’s Concordance or through websites like blueletterbible.com.
- Apply the Text by taking what you learn to heart. Consider how it can impact your situation, your upcoming decisions, and your current needs. Then trust God’s instruction and live it out.
Bible Study Ideas
As you begin to study the Bible at home, here are some ideas to get you started.
Study the Bible by Verse
Bible apps like You Version Bible provide a verse of the day and offer a large number of translations to choose from. Using that as a starting point, you can use the Observe, Interpret, Apply method of Bible study (detailed above) to learn more about that verse.
Study the Bible by Topic
If you’re currently struggling with something specific (such as fear, worry or anxiety), you can use sites like info to search for those words and discover what the Bible says about them.
Study the Bible by Book
Many people study individual books of the Bible, like the book of Esther, for example, or John, or Matthew, or Romans. By studying a book in its entirety, you’ll discover much deeper meaning and context than studying by verse.
Bible Study Groups
It’s always nice to study with a group of friends. Having the ability to talk about what you’re learning is helpful and many times additional resources are used inside groups. Since it’s difficult to meet in groups right now, online Bible studies are becoming more popular. One I recommend is through the Facebook group for The Joyful Life Magazine. They offer online studies once a quarter or so.
Bible Study at Home
Here’s where I want to encourage you right now. Just begin today, right where you are. Pray and ask God to lead you with His wisdom, then open His Word and begin. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll reap some of His overwhelming blessings. Engage with your family members, or start off on your own. There’s no reason to fear because God will meet with you when you seek Him. When the Bible seems confusing, look into different versions or look up the word meanings as suggested above, or consult with a friend or pastor who knows the Bible well.
Tools for Bible Study Beginners
You may wonder what you need to begin studying the Bible. What you truly need is simply a Bible (electronic or in book form), a pencil, and some paper. The more you progress, however, the more you’ll enjoy having some writing tools to use. The pages of paper Bibles are thin and a lot of the writing instruments we use every day bleed through the pages and make it hard to read. Here are some of my favorite writing tools that I use specifically for Bible study:
Bible Study Pens
I like these Micro Pens from Amazon because they come in a variety of colors, they’re fine-tipped which makes it easier to write in small spaces, and best of all, they don’t bleed through Bible pages. This set from Sakura is even higher quality but has fewer color selections.
Bible Study Highlighters
Call me crazy but my favorite Bible study highlighters aren’t highlighters at all. They’re colored pencils, but they never bleed, they’re comfortable to write with, and they come in a large variety of colors. Check out these Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils. You can also find Bible Study Highlighters in Bible book stores or online, but I find they’re more expensive and don’t last as long.
It’s nice to have smaller, narrower sticky notes that fit into the margins of your Bible. For that reason, I like those designed for calendars like these from Erin Condren. (And they’re cute)!
Bible Reflection Worksheets
I created these printable worksheets to use over and over with any book or passage of the Bible. They’ve proved invaluable in my faith walk and I hope you’ll enjoy them!
Books I recommend for Bible Study Beginners
It’s always a good idea to start to accumulate a small library of resources. There are several books I recommend—specifically for Bible Study beginners—because they have fueled my own faith.
- Without question, you need a Bible that’s easy to read and understand. To begin your journey, I recommend a version that’s a bit more conversational in tone, but still maintains the integrity of original Biblical texts. The CSB version is my favorite and is available in these gems: The Study Bible for Women, She Reads Truth and (in)Courage Devotional Bible.
- Believing God was the first book I ever read by Beth Moore and it had a profound impact on my life and ministry. It remains one of my highest recommendations, even after all these years.
- Kay Arthur is another Bible study favorite because she teaches you to mine God’s word for truth on your own. I recommend Lord Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days.
I hope these pointers and recommendations get you off to a strong start in Bible study, especially if you’re a beginner. As always, I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions!
To your closer connection to God,
Marriages are facing trials and challenges like never before. The enemy of our souls continues to rise up and attack our homes and families. Some wonder if prayer for marriage is effective and whether any marriage can survive.
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Marriages can survive. What’s more, they can thrive and flourish. Prayer is a key that unlocks doors of hope and possibility.
When troubled and in crisis, prayer for marriage—specifically Scriptural prayer—can break through barriers that you never dreamed. We don’t always know what to pray when we feel broken and healing looks impossible.
Specific Prayer for Marriage in Trouble
To celebrate over 3 decades of marriage, I wrote 31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage. It’s a prayer devotional specifically for marriage and provides tools and insights to add power to your prayers by relying on the Word of God. When a marriage feels broken, we often don’t know how to form the words to pray. This devotional will fuel your prayers and give you tools to pray fervently and effectively for your relationship.
Our Miraculous Victory in Marriage
You might wonder if a marriage can survive infidelity. Or if any marriage can withstand the loss of a child. During a season when my own marriage nearly crumbled, the Lord prompted both my husband and me—independently—to pray. The results were nothing short of miraculous. Looking back over more than 30 years together, I am humbled and grateful that our marriage did more than survive. It thrived. All glory goes to God for the victory and I believe He used fervent prayer as a weapon of warfare.
Each of the 31 daily marriage devotions provides a Bible passage or two to focus on God’s truth, a specific prayer based on the Scriptures, and a simple step of faith to encourage tangible action in your journey of prayer. By engaging with this prayer devotional, your marriage and relationships will see blessings through:
- a refreshed closeness to the Lord
- developing a strong practice of prayer
- softening your heart toward your spouse
- strengthening your marriage relationship
Use it as a daily devotional, shared prayer time for couples, or take your time and savor the experience by pouring yourself into the prayer and suggested steps of faith. 31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage is available now with immediate download. Follow this link to discover more and make a purchase: https://cathymcintosh.com/product/prayer-devotional-for-marriage/
Get Instant Access Here!
Throughout this series, we examined nourishing our spirit and discovered how we are designed to connect with God. Our connection is called “abiding” in the Bible and John 15 teaches that we are to abide in Christ as a branch abides in a vine. The connection should be seamless, uninterrupted, and whole. If you’d like to start at the beginning of the series and read Part 1, click here.
Benefits of Nourishing Your Spirit
The benefits of nourishing your spirit are countless. By abiding in Christ, we learn to receive the love that God so freely supplies. We receive confidence, knowing that we are His. Most notably, when our spirit is nourished we bear fruit—not from our own efforts, but the fruit of the Holy Spirit that flows through us. This fruit manifests itself in real life, even when life gets messy and difficult.
It’s true that life gets harder as we age. Our problems get bigger. The good news is, when we draw closer to God day by day, we lean increasingly on Him and His strength. I often wonder how people navigate life without His support.
In my personal life, I’ll share that my mom is very sick. Four weeks ago, the doctors said she had only weeks to live. She’s 85 with a bad heart, and she’s very weak. In-home hospice started so we receive frequent visits from nurses, social workers, and even a chaplain if we wish.
The burden of 24-hour care is carried by the family. I set up a video baby monitor and I receive notifications on my cell phone if she even moves her covers in the night. We have a lot of people in our house right now and I have more help than I could ever wish for. But it’s still hard. It’s so hard.
Mom and I have not always had a great relationship. I’m her only surviving child and she has lived with us since my dad passed away 18 years ago. Watching her decline so rapidly is heartbreaking. What slays me and keeps me up at night is that she doesn’t know Jesus. She wants no part of Him.
Abiding Through Difficulties
In this season of caring for her, in the midst of the demands of ordinary life, abiding looks different for me than it ever has. There’s not much uninterrupted time to sit and wait on Him. So I pray on the go. I keep my feet moving while I worship. And I read only a few sentences of the Bible at a time.
Mom is increasingly anxious when I’m not close by so leaving the house is tricky. I’m so thankful for technology and online sermons from our church that help keep me connected with the body of Christ.
I know that God is fully aware of my situation. From before the foundation of the world, He knew we’d face this and He walks with us. Somehow, I love her as He does. In a mysterious way, it brings joy to serve her and care for her. Somehow, I’m grateful for the opportunity to honor her.
The Fruit of Abiding
The other day, I stood at the coffee pot, just simply filling a cup and I was overwhelmed by His nearness. It brought such peace and assurance to my heart. I could feel His passion, His love, His affection.
This is the fruit of abiding. And it’s not just for me. It’s for all of God’s children who are willing to let the love of Christ fill all the empty places in our hearts.
The joy of Christmas is knowing that God came to be with us. We celebrate His birth and the anticipation of remaining in His unfailing love. Because we were created to connect with God. And when we do, we are never, ever alone.
When we abide in Christ, we connect with Him, which allows us to be radically loved by Him. We grow to be more like Him, to love others more fully, and to be full of delight about who God is for us. That is what makes Christmas merry.
Merry, Merry Christmas to you, my sweet friends.
The craziness of the holidays can get to us all. Even just a few days before Christmas, when the frantic pace hits its peak, nourishing your spirit by taking time—even just a few minutes—for the Lord can be a game-changer. Instead of greeting the people you loved in a stressed-out, frazzled, hot-mess type of attitude, embrace them with warmth and patience. Shine the light of Christ by first pointing your heart toward your lifeline, the true Vine, Jesus our Lord and Savior.
In Part 4 of this series, we observed the benefits of abiding. We began an introduction detailing how to Abide in God. The first step in abiding is following Jesus. If you missed that post, you read it here.
The second step is to practice two things: Be silent and wait.
Nourishing Your Spirit Through Silence and Waiting
Silence is our friend, yet it feels so foreign to our society. We’re almost always surrounded by noise: the TV, music, podcasts, crowds, traffic, and thousands of media interruptions. To practice this second step of abiding, get into a quiet place and practice becoming comfortable in its warm embrace. Next, ask God to reveal Himself to you. These things will happen very slowly and you’ll need to work on it every day. So, the second thing you need to learn to do is to wait.
When Moses went to the Mountain to receive God’s instruction, He waited for six days. Six, Days. Before God showed Him a thing. And Moses sat quietly and waited. In our own lives, we wait two minutes and think it’s more than we can bear. If you feel like God isn’t showing up, remember that Moses waited for six days—non-stop. That will make your wait feel a lot shorter.
Keep at it. The wait is worth it.
Nourishing Your Spirit Through God’s Word and Prayer
The third step to abiding is to connect with God by reading the Bible and praying.
I’m not suggesting you read the whole Bible before bed tonight. But begin reading. If you’ve never read the Bible, start with the book of John. It’s closer to the back than the front. Read just a few verses a day and in your times of quiet and waiting, ask God to help you understand what it says and show you how it applies to your life.
To pray simply means to talk to God. Tell Him about your problems. Ask for help. Invite Him into your celebrations. Just talk with Him as you would a friend. It will feel awkward at first, but it gets easier and even enjoyable as you grow in it.
In prayer, you can also express your worship and your gratitude. This means thanking the Lord for the things that anger and frustrate us as much as for the blessings and happiness He brings. Make a point to recognize God’s activity in your life (including the character-building moments) and express my gratitude to Him. It’s easy to thank Him silently or aloud, alone or with your family. Showing thanks is a quick and simple way to invite the Lord into every aspect of my day.
The Investment of Time
Believe me, I understand that I’m encouraging you to commit time during one of the busiest seasons of the year.
Remember, the Lord knows your frantic, holiday pace. Holidays (originally termed ‘Holy Days’) were His idea—along with celebrations and festivals. Making time to be still with Him doesn’t require an hour or even 30 minutes. It requires just enough time to turn my heart and focus on the Lord.
In my own life, this may look like 5 minutes locked away in the bathroom reading Scriptures on my iPhone, trying to tune out repeated knocks on the door. It may be purposefully turning to Him during my first cup of coffee before anyone else is awake. It may happen in my car, one of the only silent environments I can find. Whenever it happens and however it looks, this intentional practice is essential to abide in Him.
Those of you who have walked with Jesus for a while now and are thinking, Cathy we already know to do all of this.
Yes. I understand. The problem is, we often stop the foundational practices of our faith. We stop reading the Bible and think, I already know all of that. We stop praying, thinking God already knows what I need.
What if we treated our earthy relationships like this? If we stopped talking to our husbands believing they (should) know everything about us by now. [[Don’t try this at home.]] That’s no way to abide. It’s trying to coast while moving uphill. We are created to connect with God.
Learning the Chords of Nourishing Your Spirit
We need to stay faithful, nourishing our spirit in the little things. The simple steps I’ve shared are like chords on a guitar. When we know the chords—when we practice them— we can put them together and play countless songs. Without knowing the chords, we’re just making noise.
Abiding is what helps us encounter the real love of Jesus, embrace our real purpose, and become bold agents of real change. Abiding in Christ results in fruit that shows up in real-life. In Part 6, the conclusion of this series, I’ll share how the practice of abiding is manifesting itself into the hard parts of life. I hope you’ll join me right back here for the final segment!