5 Easy Tips for Helping You Love Reading Your Bible

If you grew up going to church every time the doors were open like I did, you know that “reading your Bible more” was something that was constantly talked about in Sunday School, your pastor’s sermon, and in youth group. Even when I was a youth leader at my former church, I would often ask my youth kids about specific ways to grow closer to the Lord and they would give the canned response of reading your Bible more. Read your Bible, grow closer to Jesus. Sounds simple, right?

But if I’m being honest, it totally wasn’t that simple for me. I struggled with Bible reading. I avoided the Old Testament like the plague due to its complexity and somewhat difficulty to understand. I found myself reading the same old things in the New Testament and not really gaining anything new from it. To be perfectly frank, I found reading the Bible to be terribly boring. As an avid reader, I preferred reading the novels that I had stacked on my nightstand over the Word. When I would break down and open my Bible, I wouldn’t even know where to start. Should I pick a book from the Bible and read through it, should I stick to one testament over the other, should I just flip through until I found something interesting? All these were questions that swirled in my brain every time I would think about reading the Bible. I would go days, sometimes weeks without opening my Bible other than during Sunday service. In full transparency, I would have much rather been scrolling through my phone or binging a show on Netflix than spending time studying that Word. #RealTalk

Maybe you’re like me in that reading the Bible can feel overwhelming. Maybe you are sitting behind your screen shaking your head at me thinking I’m an idiot. Whatever your thoughts, I’m just sharing my own experience with not having a true hunger for the Word of God. I wanted to be a good steward of the Bible, I just didn’t know how nor did I have the desire.

Around April of last year when my life was completely flipped upside down, I cried out to Jesus. I begged him to help me and to provide me comfort. I honestly thought He was being silent. But then one April night, I opened my Bible to Psalms. And there on the pages in front of me was comfort. Encouragement. Relief. Promises. Hope. I read verse after verse and page after page and devoured every word like it was bread in the midst of starvation. I was hooked. I prayed for God to give me wisdom as I took in His Word and to give me guidance. Over the last year, I’ve grown to love reading my Bible. It has been a safe place that has offered me peace in the midst of chaos. It has taught me so much about the Lord and His goodness towards His people. It has been a lighthouse guiding me on my darkest nights. Reading my Bible is truly the best part of my day.

I want to offer five easy and practical tips that have worked for me when it comes to enjoying reading my Bible. If you are reading this blog post then you obviously know how to read, but I want you to ENJOY reading your Bible. I want you to crave reading it and for it to be a special part of your day that binds your heart closer to the one who created you. Hopefully you will find these tips useful and practical and perhaps help you enjoy reading your Bible more.

1. Leave Your Bible Out in the Open

I once took a photography class from Sarah McAffry that taught people how to use their DSLR cameras. Near the end of the course, Sarah said that we should leave our camera out in the open (not in the bag) and we should photograph something at least once per day. Her logic was that if it was easily accessible, then we would be more likely to use it. The same goes for our Bibles. If we keep our Bibles zipped up in a Bible bag or put up on a shelf, then the likelihood of us getting it out to read it goes way down. I keep my Bible out on my nightstand at all times. I also keep two other Bibles around the house for easy access. A sweet friend sent me this Hosana Revival Bible that is absolutely gorgeous, so I keep it in my living room where I can grab it any time that I feel led to do so.

Having your Bible in an easy to access place keeps it near the top of your mind and shows that Bible reading is a priority for you. I love being able to grab my Bible and flip through Scripture whenever I choose. Applying Sarah’s camera school logic, I also make sure to read my Bible every day. Doing so not only creates it as a habit, but it also makes you more comfortable with doing it. I will admit that it was a little hard for me to commit to reading my Bible daily, but once the habit was formed, it was a top priority for me and became second nature.

Even if you can’t commit to reading your Bible every single day right now, at least leave it out where you can see it. Maybe that’s your coffee table, near your toilet, on your nightstand, or in your office. Having it in an easy to see place will automatically make you more likely to read it.

2. Start Your Day with Scripture

One of my most enjoyable activities is sleeping. I will hit snooze half a dozen times and wake up at the last possible moment. Some people like to wake up early and do their daily quiet time to start their day and while that is a great thing to do and a great habit to have, it just does not work for me. I tried it for a few weeks one time and found myself almost being resentful of that time because I felt exhausted and would have rather been sleeping. I’ll post more in another tip about *when* I do my daily Bible study, but I do think that it is important to start your day with scripture. Even if you aren’t doing your “quiet time” starting your day focused on the Word really does start your day off on the right foot.

What I have found works best for me is an app called First 5. This app was created by Proverbs 31 Ministries and is the perfect way to start your day. When it says it takes five minutes-it literally takes five minutes. I usually pop on the app as I’m laying in bed fully waking up and then finish up my reading during the two minutes it takes to brush my teeth each morning. That’s literally all it takes and I can start my day with scripture. While this isn’t a full blown quiet time or Bible study, it is time well spent with the Lord and it is an enjoyable time. It presents scripture and a short devotional without overwhelming you. I have found that even on days when I wasn’t reading my Bible, I was still logging into the First 5 app and having a takeaway from that. If you are someone that struggles with time or that isn’t quite ready to jump head first into daily Bible reading, I highly suggest downloading this app and adding it to your morning routine.

3. Make It Your Own (aka Make It Cute)

When I tried out for golf in high school, I had no idea what I was doing. But one thing was for certain…I wanted to look the part. I had cute skirts, cute golf balls, a girly colored bag, and all the fun accessories. And while there is more to golf than “looking the part,” it totally gave me confidence on the golf course.

Taking that same mindset, I applied it to reading my Bible. I bought cute accessories and supplies to totally make it my own and it gave me a lot of confidence to start reading my Bible. I had fun pens and highlighters and notebooks and the whole 9 yards and it made reading my Bible a lot more enjoyable. As someone who ADORES taking notes and annotating (hello, I’m an English teacher), I found myself actually WANTING to sit down each day and see what good stuff I can find in God’s Word that made me want to take notes on. I ordered a checklist that had the books of the Bible on it so that I could mark off what books of the Bible I had already completed. Using my fun accessories really motivated me to dig more into the Word.

I also suggest finding a Bible that works for you. Maybe you still have an old Bible from college that just doesn’t really do it for you anymore. Maybe you have a version that is a translation that is hard to understand. Find a Bible that you LOVE, and reading it will be way more enjoyable. The Bible that I mainly study from is this one in the NIV translation. I love that it is big, but some people prefer a smaller version. I love the study material in it, but I know some people don’t. I also use the ESV version and then will often consult my Bible app to read the NLT version. Finding the right Bible and making that one your own will for sure make you love reading your Bible a lot more.

If you are someone that loves color and finds joy in new school supplies and fun accessories, I encourage you to find what works for you when it comes to studying your Bible. Maybe you can create a color coded system when it comes to highlighting certain verses, maybe you get a journaling Bible and can use your time in the Word to create art. Whatever works for you, make it your own. I have found that in making my Bible my own, it has given me a lot more confidence and motivation to read it.

Writing Tools I love: Mircron Pens, Le Pen, Flair Pens, Inkjoy Gel Pens, Sharpie, Daily Grace, Colored Pencils

Journals I love: Moleskin, Well Watered Women, Amazon, anything from TJ Maxx

4. Make It a Special Time (but be okay with it not being how you envisioned)

In a perfect world, we would have tons of time to study our Bible each day in a beautiful place with absolutely no distractions. Kids wouldn’t be climbing on us begging to be held, husbands wouldn’t need us to get a meal on the table, friends wouldn’t be wanting you to return their FaceTime call. But we don’t live in a perfect world and “quiet time” is often never quiet. I’m fortunate enough to have limited distractions since I don’t yet have children or a husband to take care of, but I still find myself easily distracted and still find myself having my daily Bible time in a way that I did not envision.

I try my best to make my Bible time a special time. I have a bin with all of my “Bible supplies” that I pull out and use whenever I study. Typically I open the blinds next to my reading chair, light a candle, and have a really enjoyable experience. But it’s not always like that. Sometimes my Bible time is having my stuff spread all over my kitchen table so that I can study while I eat dinner. Sometimes it is me reading a few verses in my bed before I fall asleep for the night. Sometimes it is me reading out on my back deck while trying to enjoy God’s creation but instead being met with the sound of barking dogs. Perhaps for you studying your Bible looks like trying to keep your kid’s sticky fingers from messing up your pages. Maybe it is grabbing a few verses before pulling a yummy casserole out of the oven. Maybe it’s scrolling through your Bible app while bathing babies in the evening.

Whatever your daily Bible time looks like, make it a special time. If you can set a routine that works for you and that you find solace in, then it will automatically be more enjoyable. I look forward to being able to curl up in my chair and study my Bible each day. But even when there are days that I can’t do that and I have to read my Bible during my planning time at school in between meetings or phone calls, it is still a special time because it is time with the Lord. Make it special, but make it flexible. Be okay with your quiet time not necessarily being quiet.

5. Find Some Accountability

There is strength in numbers! Find a girlfriend to do a fun Bible study with, find a mentor that will check in with you daily to keep you accountable with your reading, make it a family affair and read some scripture with your kids each day. Whatever works best for you, it helps to have accountability. I am a part of a few different group texts where we share what we are reading and learning from our daily time in the Word. This is super helpful in keeping yourself accountable, but also allows you to see what others are studying so that you can go read the scriptures for yourself to see what you gain from it.

I am leading an online Bible study with some gals and I know that doing that has made me accountable to really study what God’s Word has to say. Knowing that I need to contribute to the conversation has helped me dig deep into His Word. God designed us for community and I truly believe that a fellowship with other believers makes reading your Bible more enjoyable. If your church offers small groups and you haven’t yet joined-then join! If your church doesn’t, find some ladies in your life to hold you accountable and to talk with about what God is teaching you through daily Bible reading.

Connecting with others about what the Lord is speaking to you about will really enhance your Bible reading experience. I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with fellow believers who can encourage you in your walk with the Lord. If you don’t have any groups local to you or friends that you feel comfortable with, reach out to me and I will be happy to help you in any way I can!

Well, all of this sounds great in theory, doesn’t it? These are five tips that I feel are really practical and also easy to implement that will help you in studying your Bible. They have helped me grow in my desire to study God’s Word and have helped me with my walk with Christ. I am by no means an expert, but I’m simply sharing what has worked for me and what has helped me grow a love for Bible reading when I once found it boring. Hopefully you can implement these tips and be encouraged in your Bible study. A love for reading your Bible definitely doesn’t happen overnight, but giving yourself grace and knowing that your time in the Word is personal to you will help in fostering a love for studying scripture. Have a blessed day!

God’s Going to Use This

Can I be real for a second and share something I hate hearing? It’s that “God is going to use this.” Yep, those six words make me cringe. It is something I’ve not only heard a million times, but I have said it a million times to other people. And it’s not that I hate hearing it because it isn’t true, but it’s because I’m just stubborn and don’t want to think about the good when I’m dealing with the bad. The words ring so true. I’ll probably continue to say this to other people and I’m sure other people will continue saying it. There’s truth to it. And sometimes we have to hear things that are the truth even when they make us uncomfortable.

The other night a friend sent me a quote and I ended up making a graphic for it to save to my phone that I’ll post below. Rick Warren says “other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” The quote points to things that my friend had told me multiple times. She would often say that other people are going to find healing through my hurt. Talk about pouring salt on my wide open wounds! I didn’t want to have to suffer just so it would help someone else. Let them learn and find healing some other way!! What a selfish mindset that was for me to have, right?

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 says “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

Ouch. That puts it in major perspective for us, doesn’t it? Sometimes we seek comfort in things like food, tv, relationships, sleeping, or scrolling through Facebook. But God is the source of ALL comfort. What a blessing it is to be able to comfort others when they are in times of trouble. I’ve finally gotten to the point in my own troubles and trials that I’m even able to speak openly about it. For so long I didn’t want to for a multitude of reasons, but God really pressed it into my heart that I need to use this hardship for good. For His good. That’s why I started Rescue Story Ministries. My deepest hurt is now my ministry and I can help bring comfort to others in their own hurts. Isn’t it amazing how God works like that? If I was in church right now I would shout “Amen!”

When you’re in the middle of your own storm, it is hard to think about how that storm is going to not only bring glory to God’s name, but how it is going to help others. We tend to put our blinders on and only focus on ourselves when times get tough, but once we get out of the storm we can see that other people are going to find healing from your wounds. You are going to have a message and ministry to share because of what you have been through. That may be hard to hear if you are smack dab in the middle of a major hurt at the moment. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m still there in a lot of ways. But good can come from the bad. God can take that hurt and that pain and that wound and use it to bring glory to Him and to be a blessing to others. Let us not ever be so wrapped up in our own self pity that we don’t want to honor God and help others. Find comfort in the Lord and take that comfort to others.

The Grace You Need

I listened to a sermon last March by Tim Miller, the pastor at Sevier Heights Baptist Church, and he said something that really made me stop and think. He said “God may not give you the answer you want, but He will give you the grace you need.” I scribbled that in my journal and came back to it often throughout 2019. So often when we pray, we are desperately seeking an answer. An answer that WE want. Perhaps we are praying for healing of a loved one, praying that we get that job promotion, praying that our kids get selected for the basketball team, praying that our marriages will get better, praying that our sadness will go away, praying for more financial stability. The list can go on and on. We ask God for things with the belief that asking will get us what we want. But God is a good, good father and doesn’t always say yes to our every command and wish. Good parenting involves saying no sometimes.

Think about that time at Target when you saw that young mama tell her 3 year old “no” to purchasing a new toy. What reaction ensued? If you visit the Targets that I do then you would have seen that 3 year old hurl himself onto the floor, kicking, screaming, wailing, and having a major meltdown over the fact that his mama said no. She was supposed to love him. Why didn’t she say yes? Now, I may not literally throw a temper tantrum when God doesn’t give me the answer I want, but I definitely emotionally struggle with it. I have a little pity party where I internally kick and scream and get extremely frustrated. Do you? We think that we deserve what we are asking for and we think that God should give it to us. We think that since He loves us then He should indulge us in our heart’s desires. But sometimes He doesn’t.

The times when God doesn’t give us the answer we want, it is important to remember that He will give us the grace we need. We may not get that job promotion, but God can give us grace to endure the job we are currently in. He may not fix your husband’s downfalls, but He will give you the grace to endure and be compassionate. He may not let your kid get picked for the sports team, but He will give you the words to comfort your child. He may not heal your loved one of cancer, but He will give you the grace to endure the trial. He’s a good, good God.

The next time you find yourself praying for a yes from God or for a specific answer, also pray that God prepares your heart to not receive that answer. Pray for the grace you need. He will absolutely give you the grace to endure any situation, especially when He isn’t giving you the answer you want. His ways are always way better than our ways and He sees the bigger picture that we will never be able to see. All things are for His good and all His ways are perfect. I pray that the next time you find yourself in a season of not getting the answers that you want, that you will lean into God and His grace and His promises and find peace there.

Why Rescue Story Ministries?

First post alert. As I sat staring at my blinking cursor on my laptop for longer than I would like to admit, I kept wondering and praying for what my first post should be. I have so much I want to share and so many directions I want to go that it is hard to find a starting point. I thought I would begin today with this first post simply explaining why I chose the name of my ministry. Sound good?

Over the summer when I was thick in the throes of grief, I latched onto music. I felt that God was being silent in what I was asking Him to do for me and I turned to music as my way of hearing God. Little did I know that praise and worship music would become my solace when I just couldn’t bear to open my Bible anymore or to even pray. Several songs became near and dear to my heart during those lonely summer months, but once I started back to work in the fall I began to really hear the lyrics of “Rescue Story” by Zach Williams. I’ll post the lyrics in full below, but the song points to the idea that the Lord rescues us, picks us up from our ashes, fights our battles, hears us, and ultimately never gives up on us. These lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks one day and I just clung to them like a healing balm for my soul. That song became my anthem. I mean it says that God was writing our pages before we were ever born! Doesn’t that offer us some encouragement when we are tempted to write our own stories and fill our own pages with the things that we want?

Around the same time, I took a tear filled drive with my sweet friend, Holly. I’ll share more about Holly in future posts but for the sake of brevity I will share this specific story today. We were in her car and I was just sobbing and having a major breakdown. She was giving me gentle life advice and she said some words that became etched into my brain forever. She told me in a gentle, tough love, Big Sis kind of way the following: “Kels, you keep waiting for God to deliver you from this situation and fix it, but God has RESCUED you from this.” At the time, those weren’t the words I wanted to hear and if I’m being totally honest, a big part of me still doesn’t want to hear them. However, the word that stood out to me was rescue. God rescued me. God heard my cries. He brought me from death to life. He rescued me in the pits of my despair.

We all have a rescue story to share. A time when things seemed hopeless and all joy was gone. But God in all his amazing ways rescued us from that. My goal with this ministry is to share the ways in which God has rescued me while also giving a platform for others to share how God has rescued them. He is faithful in all of His ways and He is ready to rescue us from any situation and redeem it for His good and His glory. It’s a painful process and a road filled with brokenness, but God wants us to let Him rescue us. I cannot wait to utilize this ministry in sharing my own story and the stories of others. Our rescue stories will be told.

Here are the lyrics to “Rescue Story” by Zach Williams. I pray it blesses your heart like it has blessed mine.

“Rescue Story”

There I was empty-handed
Crying out from the pit of my despair
There You were in the shadows
Holding out Your hand You met me there

And now where would I be without You?
Where would I be, Jesus?

You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
You are my rescue story

You are, You are
You are my rescue story
You are, You are

You were writing the pages
Before I had a name
Before I needed grace, oh
Singing songs of redemption
‘Cause every time I ran away
You were louder than my shame

And now where would I be without You?
Where would I be, Jesus?

You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
You are my rescue story

You never gave up on me
You never gave up on me
You are my testimony, ooh…
You never gave up on me
You never gave up on me
You are my testimony, ooh…
You never gave up on me
Oh, You never gave up on me
Oh, this is my testimony

Oh, You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
‘Cause You are my rescue story

You are, You are (You are my rescue story)
Oh, You never gave up on me, never gave up on me
You are, You are
Yeah, You are my rescue story

Have a blessed weekend and thank you for being a part of Rescue Story Ministries.