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Dashing Devotional: How to Study the Bible

October 23rd, 2014 - Dashing Devotionals, Inspiration

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What are the Benefits of Studying the Word of God?

Over the past few years, I have received a lot of questions and emails from people who asking how to study the Bible. I want to begin by saying that the great thing about spending time in the Word is that we get to spend time with our Father, and He wants to speak to us through His Word even more than we want to hear from Him! He loves us more than we could ever imagine, and His love letter to each one of us is the Bible!

I wanted to start by saying, because I truly think that if we go into studying the Word of God with the mindset that it is something that we ‘should’ or ‘have’ to do, it sucks the life right out of it! Instead, if we approach the Word as time to be with our Father and fellowship with the creator of the universe, we will see this time as a treasure, rather than a religious duty.

Not only is time spent in the Word a time to receive the Lord’s great love for us, but it is also the road map to our lives, guiding us and leading us into all truth and showing us the way to go. It also builds us up in our faith, gives us direction, renews our minds, lovingly corrects us, gives us wisdom, and brings true peace, joy, and fulfillment… and the list goes on. An important thing to remember is that the Word of God has the answer to every situation we will ever face in this life, and it will nourish and satisfy us like nothing on this earth ever could!

How do we Study the Word?

Now that I have laid a foundation for the benefits of spending time in the Word, the second thing I want to say about studying the Bible is that it is not a simple answer because the Word is Alive (Hebrews 4:12). It is different than any other book, because the Holy Spirit wrote it through people, and it is the Holy Spirit that brings each word on the page alive to each one of us as we study it. Therefore, the study of the Word and time spent with the Lord will look a little different for each person. It may look different each day and season of our lives because there may times/days when we really just need to spend time studying one passage or scripture for a period of time while asking the Lord to reveal it to us in a deeper way and bring it to life to us. There may be other times, however, when we read a whole chapter in one day and the Lord uses bits and pieces of it to speak different things to us. However, that being said, there are some truths that are constant and remain the same when it comes to believers reading the Word.

Here are the five things that should stay the same and apply to everyone in their time spent studying the Word:

1. Give God’s Word First Place. When we put God’s Word first place, everything in our lives will be built upon a firm foundation. John 8:31-32 tells us that if we abide in the Word, then we will be His disciples. We will know the truth and the truth will set us free. If we want to walk in the freedom that God has for us in every area of our life, we must make it our first priority to spend time with the Lord each day. If you feel that you don’t have time early in the morning, I would encourage you to try going to bed earlier so that you can set your alarm to wake up earlier! You can always study during your lunch break, at night, or any time throughout the day, but I personally have found that my whole day gets off to the right start when I make time to fellowship with Him first thing!

2. Go into Reading your Bible with Expectancy. When you spend time with the Lord, begin looking at it like getting to know your best friend. When you spend time with that person, they rub off on you a little more and soon you become like them. That is the way we should go into spending time with God. That takes away any tendency that someone might have to spend time with God out of ‘duty’ or obligation. When we expect to hear from Him, we are walking in faith that He will speak to us. This kind of attitude not only pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6), but it opens our hearts up to receive what He is speaking to us!

3. Pray Before you Read. Ask the Lord to bring the Word alive to you, to bring you revelation, and to give you eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive what He is saying to you. I always ask the Holy Spirit to give me insight and understanding when reading the Word. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to teach us, counsel us, and remind us of the truths of God’s Word. He is also the one who inspired the people who wrote the Word, so He is the best teacher of all! (John 14:26)

4. Seek and You will Find. If you have a question, something you are going through, or just want to know the Lord more, know that when you seek, you will find, and that the Word has the answer to everything we have need of in this life. (Matthew 7:7)

5. Meditate and Pray the Word. I personally love journaling while studying the Word. When I write down scriptures, it allows me to think about each word and think about how it applies to my own life. I also love praying the Word, because I know that I am praying God’s perfect will when I am praying in alignment with what He said! I also love writing and praying scripture based prayers, because it increases my faith in His promises and it allows me to look back and reflect on His faithfulness!

Where Should I Start Reading?

As far as where to start reading or what Bible to read, I would say that it is important to read both the Old and New Testament equally. However, if it is your first time reading the Bible, I would suggest starting with the New Testament because this is where you will find your identity about who you are in Jesus. The New Testament is composed of The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke John), which were written by the disciples, sharing their encounters with Jesus when He was on the earth.The Epistles – (Acts-Revelation) were written for the Christian church instructing us on how to live and carry out the ministry of Jesus today, while teaching us who we are in Christ. The New Testament is beneficial to us today because as Christians, we are saved by what Jesus did for us on the cross. For that reason, we are now under a new covenant with God, which means that we are no longer subject to the punishment of God and we don’t have to offer sacrifices for our sins. Jesus came as a sacrifice once and for all for all and carried our sins in His body so that we could be born again and have a personal relationship with God (1 Peter 2:24).

The Old Testament is also equally important because it is the foundation for the New Testament, teaching us about who God created us to be from the beginning. It also contains countless prophesies of things to come in the New Testament that could only be fully understood if you read the Old Testament. It has powerful life lessons that provide wisdom, insight, and understanding to our lives today.

What Version Should I Read?

I personally like the NKJV and the NLT. However, it is important that it is a version that you can understand. The  NIV, NKJV, NLT, Amplified, and The Message are all versions I have studied in the past. I would say that it also helps to have a dictionary to help you understand certain words and/or a concordance to study the Greek or Hebrew root words and their meanings. Some other additional study guides that I have found helpful in learning my foundation of who I am in Christ are, The Believers Journey by Chris Palmer and  The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.  I also wrote my devotional Devotions for a Healthier You in hopes to help women find their true fulfillment and identity in Christ based on what I have studied and learned over the years. 

I hope this helps! This topic can go much deeper than one post can explain, but I hope this encourages you to explore and study the Word if you haven’t already started! I truly believe that God’s Word is the foundation for our lives, and it will be our rock- firm, steady, and never changing through all of life’s seasons…But most of all, it is God’s personal love letter to you! xo Katie

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Top 10 Early Morning Workout Tips!

October 16th, 2014 - Articles, Fitness News, Inspiration

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I wasn’t always someone who enjoyed working out early in the morning, but now I can’t imagine it any other way! Here are my top ten tips to getting in an early morning workout!

1. Be Prepared- One of the most important steps for me to make my early morning workouts happen is to be prepared! I like to have my clothes laid out, my workout bottle filled and ready in the fridge, and my workouts written and ready to go! That way, I get to set my alarm with just enough time to wash my face, brush my teeth, and throw on my clothes. Being prepared means less things to think about when it’s early in the morning!

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2. Find Workout Buddies- There is something so much more motivating about working out with a buddy or a group of friends! Not to mention, having someone at the gym to meet you makes it that much easier to jump out of bed knowing that someone is counting on you to be there at a certain time! My favorite workout buddy is my sister, Emily. We meet each other at the gym early a few times a week, (she is a teacher, so we have to meet at 5:30 am so she can get to school on time), but the great thing about our workouts are that they are done before I know it and then we have the rest of our day to enjoy! Click Here for a Circuit Partner Workout! 

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3. Go to Bed Earlier- Let’s face it… one of the most common reasons many people don’t like to workout early is that they feel too tired. If this sounds familiar, I have great news…This can be solved by getting to bed at a reasonable time! I find that if I get at least 7 hours of sleep, I feel great the rest of the day, despite how early I get up! For example, when I know I am waking up at 5 am to meet my sister, I try to be in bed by 10 pm. To me, that is not too unreasonable and it is totally worth it to me knowing I will feel great the next day after I have allowed my body to get enough rest!

4. Eat a Quick Pre-Workout Snack- I personally don’t like to have a lot of food in my stomach when I workout (it gives me stomach cramps), but often, I like to eat something really light before heading out the door. If you are someone that prefers to eat before a workout, I recommend something with carbohydrates and not too high in protein, unless you are able to eat at least 30-60 minutes before your workout.  This gives your body time to digest it. I suggest anything from Dashing Dish muffins, overnight oatmeal, or some dry low sugar cereal. Again, this will vary from person to person, so I recommend experimenting with a few different options to see what works best for you. Also, be sure to always have a water bottle ready to go! Being hydrated is especially important before you’ve had anything to eat or drink for the day.

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5. Get in the Mindset- I can honestly say that I enjoy working out early in the morning, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was a time when I would cringe at the thought of rolling out of bed and working out. However, I have found over time that there are more pros than cons when it comes to getting it done first thing. Here are a few examples of the benefits: Working out in the morning means that I don’t have to think about it the rest of the day, I feel more energized the rest of my day, and I tend to want to take care of my body the rest of the day, knowing that I put in the time and effort to workout!

6. Find a Workout You Enjoy- This might come as a shock to some of you, but I firmly believe that you can and should enjoy your workouts. If you are currently doing something that you find to be boring or you are doing something you dread, I want to encourage you to find something you enjoy. Yes it is possible! With all the options available today, there is no reason that you can’t find something that you love and feel that you are good at, and it doesn’t even have to be done at a gym! Try going with some friends to a work out class, buy some workout DVDs, or sign up for a walk/run/biking event. Do whatever you can to get out of your comfort zone. You never know, you might try something once and look forward to working out the rest of your life! Click Here for Some Fun & Easy Workout Ideas!

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7. Workout at Home- One of the greatest reasons for not working out early is that you simply don’t have time! For most of us, the morning can be one of the busiest times of all…But there is an answer! Working out at home is one of the best and easiest ways to get an early morning workout in, because it doesn’t require the extra time to drive to and from a gym. I have plenty of at home workouts that require only a few simple pieces of equipment (such as dumbbells), as well as some that don’t require anything except for your own body weight! Click Here for an At Home Total Body Circuit Workout!

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8. Plan Out Your Workouts- Having a plan, especially when it’s early in the morning is key to getting a good workout in! I know that if I didn’t plan my workouts ahead of time on my early workout days, that I would most likely have a hard time pushing myself in the gym. I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I can get my brain to do at 5:30 am is plan out a workout, nor do we have time when I am meeting my sister, who has to leave the gym at 6:30 am. The best thing we ever did was buy a simple and cheap notebook from Target and write out all of our workouts every Sunday so that we know what we are doing for the whole week in advance! It is also more motivating to know what we are doing ahead of time and have an organized game plan.

9. Have a Workout Playlist Ready- I don’t know about you, but having an awesome workout playlist gets me in the mood to workout! Don’t have any idea where to start with a ‘clean’ and uplifting playlist!? No problem! One of my current favorites is Hillsong Young & Free! Click Here for a Awesome Workout Playlist! 

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10. Re-Fuel with a Healthy Post-Workout Breakfast- If you do make the time and effort to start your day off with a workout, be sure to fuel your body properly throughout the rest of the day! As important as working out is, nutrition really is the most important component when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle! If you are worried that you don’t have time to workout and prep a healthy breakfast in the morning, no worries! I have tons of healthy breakfast options on Dashing Dish that are super speedy to make and can even be made the night before. I personally like to re-fuel with something that is higher in protein and complex carbohydrates. My personal favorite is one of my Dashing Dish protein shakes! Click Here for a List of 20 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas.

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