Wednesday, January 27, 2021

1-MRI Meditations: Bible Survival


The Big Idea: When anxious about the unknown use Bible verses to keep your sanity.

The doctor says it might be WHAT?

If you ever had an MRI you know how disconcerting all the pulsating noises can be. Last week I needed a brain MRI. They strapped me in and fit headphones over earplugs in an effort to provide enjoyable music for the experience. Imagine the stress knowing you need a brain MRI. You hope they find nothing out of the ordinary!

As they strapped me tightly in with whirring and piercing beeping sounds gearing up, I wondered how I would endure the next hour or so. I recently read about the value of Scripture meditation. It seemed the perfect time to put it to good use. I knew I must stay still and this verse came to mind.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10


One of the first verses or chapters that a Christian often memorizes is Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd.” One of the benefits of scripture memory is the ability to meditate on it. Chew on it, as it were. I began with those first five words, repeating them and putting a different emphasis on each word sequentially, thinking about the difference of the phrase by each particular emphasis. 

THE Lord is my shepherd.

The LORD is my shepherd.

The Lord IS my shepherd.

The Lord is MY shepherd.

The Lord is my SHEPHERD.



 I reflected on how much I could remember of the whole Psalm. I learned it as a child

in the King James Version of the Bible with its archaic poetic style. That left food for thought, because its style helped me remember it. I mulled over each verse in my mind. I took the archaic KJV asking myself how I would express it in modern English. I dwelt on the idea of God as my shepherd. I was his sheep. Because of my anxious thoughts inside the MIR machine I pictured myself as that little lamb safely in His arms. His soothing presence was very real to me.

After about a half an hour the exam continued but I felt like I was running out of fodder. Then I remembered that I knew this Psalm also in French. Could I remember it all? Were there fresh insights for me in French, and from my time working in West Africa? Indeed there was much more to ponder.

Finally, I thought of a song or two I knew based on this Psalm. I sang it to myself, lifting up an attitude  of prayer to my God.




You would think I had saturated everything there is to think about Psalm 23. However, that night as I lay in bed, my mind was vexed with worry. What would they find? Would I be OK? And I knew I could be up for a sleepless night if I did not reign my thoughts in and turn them toward my Creator who loves me. There are numerous verses in the Bible about meditation as we lie on our bed. Undoubtedly the Psalmist and other saints of old also had trouble with vexing night accusations.  The Bible is a true and accurate portrayal of real people with real world problems. They teach us how to live.


This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Joshua 1:8a


But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2


When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night. Psalm 63:6

Laying in bed with eyes wide open, I reviewed each verse of the Psalm and what I had reflected on earlier. It is always good with Scripture to review, review, review! Remember what God has shown you. Do not forget! This is one of the reasons the Old Testament patriarchs left so many stone alters and monuments in the desert. It was to remember!


Earlier that week I sat in a waiting area with delays. Though I did not have a hard copy Bible with me, I had Bible apps on my phone. I turned to a verse I have been studying, one I have not committed to memory yet, and used that time to reflect, chew, pray through and just think about who God is and what He means to me in that verse. It is a wonderful way to fix our eyes on Him in an anxious place.

Incidentally, my brain is fine. However, this week God's Word has brought my mind to return to Him and focus on Him and how much I need His Word. It comforted me and guided my thoughts. This is how we can use God's Word for our benefit and our edification. His Word is meant to be useful to us for life and godliness.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3

 Up Next: Finding God's Will

Previous Post: Biden's Bible



1. Can you think of a stressful or anxious moment recently when you could have taken a moment to reflect on God's Word?

2. Do you have a meaningful Bible verse memorized or that you can easily go to on a phone app when you need to focus on Him?

3. Have you ever considered memorizing some of God's Word, or reviewing what you already have memorized, to put to good use for life's stressors?

Where do you turn when your world caves in? This is the first post in a blog series on how to rely on Scripture in crisis. The crisis may entail health news, a death of someone close, catastrophic world events  or some personal angst that no one around you knows. But God knows and wants you to turn to His living Word to uphold you. This series is on how to incorporate the Bible for that very purpose. It's about Surviving by Scripture.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Biden’s Bible

The Big Idea: Those sworn into office often use a special Bible. The Bibles chosen teach us a bit about Bible history through the centuries. 

Biden's Family Bible

Today when President Biden was sworn in, he chose a precious family heirloom that has been in his family since 1893. A five inch or so thick family Bible with clasps of Celtic crosses. Presidents and other State officials are not required to be sworn in on a Bible. They can choose a meaningful book if they wish. Most choose a Bible and some ask that it be opened to a verse in the Psalms or another verse special to them. The President elect is privy to choose a historic Bible from our nation's history. The most used Bible is the one that George Washington used. Another popular choice is a Bible of Abraham Lincoln. A Bible chosen can reflect a bit about the spiritual history of our nation as well as the sacredness of the oath.

President Biden chose a Bible that has been important in his family. It has all the important family events written in it, and it has been used every time he was sworn in to an office. There is a photo of him with the Bible in 1973 when he was sworn in to the Senate. His son Beau Biden also used this family Bible when he was sworn into office. I may be presuming, but I believe that in this choice, President Biden has hopes that he can have an impact on unifying and building up the American family, the family of our nation and the nuclear family of American households. Whatever that looks like in our diverse world, focus on the family is where we should find safety, love and belonging.

The Family Bible is a Douey Reimes Haydock Edition. The Douey Reimes translation has traditionally been used by Catholics. The Haydock Edition is remarkable in that it includes a Catholic Commentary, an Illustrated Catholic Bible Dictionary, and a history of each book of the Bible. It also has charts and tables of measurements and other subjects. The comments make up a considerable part of the Bible pages and in it was considered a superb guide to understanding the Holy Word of God. It is hopeful to think that back in its day it was poured over when there was little else to read, and brought insight and comfort to American families.

President Biden is the second Catholic President to become an American President. Some remember when the first Catholic President was elected, JFK. At the time there were those who thought life as we knew it as believers was coming to a close. I am thankful for a President today who takes his faith seriously and regularly attends church, even if his practice of it is a bit different than mine. I pray for him to go to God when he is heavy, with a need for guidance. May he surround himself with wise counselors.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior. I Timothy 2: 1-4 NLT

Up Next: MRI Meditations - First in a new series, Surviving by Scripture

Previous Post: Scripture Interprets Scripture



1. Does your family have a Bible that has been passed on in the family? Have you ever considered the history of its use? Do you have Bible verses, prayers and faith practices that you pass on to your children?

2. Do you pray for your president, not matter if you agree with him or not? Please join me in praying for our president that the Lord will guide him and draw him closer in a relationship with Him. Pray that he will be a wise leader. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Scripture Interprets Scripture


The Big Idea: When the Bible is confusing, ask yourself how it links with the rest of God's Word which is one big storyline. God with us. 

On a bright summer day we were sitting on lawn chairs in the backyard under a big shady tree. She wanted to talk about many burning questions regarding how to understand the Bible.  "Why do some Bible verses seem to contradict each other," she mused. "How can you know the right way to read it? I love the Bible and I believe it is the Word of God. But sometimes it confuses me!"

We read the Bible for comfort, wisdom and guidance for how to live a Christian life. But a lot of casual readers, and even seasoned ones like my friend, run into passages scratching their head. I don't mean they are confused with every single verse. Admittedly there are indeed passages that are a little hard to understand. That is just being honest. Communication, especially between generations and cultures, always takes a bit of work. All of us know there are days when our spouse says something or our parents try to explain something and we look at them blankly, wondering what they mean.


An important principle is to have Scripture interpret Scripture. The Bible itself should be your primary source for understanding. God's Word, though written by many human authors from various backgrounds over about 1400 year's time has one main story to tell; that of God reaching out to know and be known by humans. There are a number of sub themes under that story but they are in sync with each other. In spite of so many authors and such a long period of time, it is remarkably cohesive from Genesis to Revelation. This is because the same Spirit of God moved each author in what message to write.

Inductive Bible study aims to get us digging in the Bible. The primary goal is to explore as much as we can primarily in the Scripture passage without going to other sources right away. If you do it properly you should probably read a passage many times in a study period. Each time look for something else. Underline. Diagram. Look for repetitive words and word relationships such as cause and effect, opposites, and so on. Look for location, movement and time periods. You will find yourself looking at a verse in a whole new way when you hunker down with a passage.

The more you get to know your Bible you will discover when reading that a verse or passage will trigger another passage saying something similar. Or you will want to dig more into the back story. For instance Jesus talks about Old Testament characters like Noah and Jonah. Who were they? Look up where the reference is that mentions them.


1. Start with Prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit that moved the authors of the Bible to write the Scriptures to guide you.

2. Check a cross reference. Many Bibles have notes in the center with correlating verses.

3. Check a concordance or electronically a word search for key words repeated. You may want to do a special study on a key word. Explore a person or place mentioned using these tools. See all the other places it is mentioned in the Bible.

 4. Read the verse or passage in a number of Bible translations. There are times, but not all that often, a word is used in the original language only once in the Bible with a meaning or background unclear. Understand God has not left the people of God missing a very important concept for thousands of years because of that word. Check on verses with similar themes and phrases. Interpret from the body of the whole. Interpret the obscure based on the known.

5. If you did not start your study looking at the context, do so now. Ask yourself who the author is, who he wrote to, how many chapters there are, the theme of the book, and what kind of genre the book is.

6. Look at the context and theme of the chapter before and after the passage you are concerned about.

7. Do not base a whole doctrine on one isolated verse or passage in the Bible without correspondence with the rest of it. Remember you want to know what God is saying to the people of God. This is about what God means and not about a new doctrine or mind-blowing idea you can come up with.

8.  Be cautious with allegories. Much of the Bible needs to be read at face value in sync with other Scripture. The whole Bible is not an allegory. It is a very practical book with stories of real people learning to trust God and inherit eternal life.

9. Do not interpret the Bible by your life experience. In a roomful of people, each one may have a different idea how to live out a passage, or a different way of expressing what it means, but you should never have multiple interpretations of a Bible passage. The Bible is not relative to experience. Rather our life experiences should be lived in light of the guidance of the Bible.

10. In light of Biblical themes that span the Old Testament and New Testament, always examine the Old Testament as foundational and the New Testament as the fulfilled understanding.

Keep hungry for the Bible. Let God's Word build into your life a heart to please Him.

Up Next: Biden's Bible

Previous Post: Instruction Manual Fiasco

Check out a more recent, concise post of mine on this topic. IBS 19 Scripture Interprets Scripture


1. Do I tend to feel lost when reading the Bible or frustrated with the meaning? Talk to God about your concerns. Expect Him to guide you. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Instruction Manual Fiasco


The Big Idea: The Bible is a good "How to" manual for the Christian life.

When my husband was deployed for six months with the military, my office chair gave out. I found one at an Office store for a great holiday sale. It came in a box that did not look at all like a chair. "Some assembly required," it read. How hard can it be, I thought? I know how to read instructions.

I pulled the instruction manual out. It was bigger than I thought till I saw the manual was in about 10 languages. My son and I got the parts spread out and read the instructions very carefully. They were not well written, and not always in good English. Finally I got the bright idea to see if someone made instructions for it on YouTube. YES!!! Show-and-tell finally allowed us to get the office chair correctly put together!

Good instructions do not always accompany a product! But instructions are necessary for so many things we try to do. I seem to consult the manual every time I get my sewing machine out! I have a manual file on my computer for PDF manuals for my stuff.

An Instruction Manual for Life

Did you know the Bible is likened to an instruction manual for life?

These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River. Deuteronomy 32:47

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. Psalm 19:7

Preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow me. Isaiah 8:16

These three verses let us know that God's Word, God's "instructions," are trustworthy. They are not irrelevant words. They are perfect! They give us a life well lived. When it says "they are your life" the passage actually implies the eternal life available to us in Jesus. We know this when we do cross references and cross checks with the rest of the Bible... "Scripture interpreting Scripture" it is called. And it revives, restores our very soul.

These words of God are not a poorly put together instruction manual like my chair manual was. It is an outstanding, perfect book that gives us satisfying, peace giving life long instruction! It is the very words of God penned with the Holy Spirit guidance.

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophet s were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. 1 Peter 1:20-21

This word used in our in the Old Testament passages above is sometimes translated as "law," but it is also translated as "instructions." As Deuteronomy says over and over, these are instructions for life - for a good life. They are told to tell them to their children too so they will live a long life, knowing the Lord.

When Life Throws you a Curve Ball

There are times life throws us a curve ball. Even though there is not a specific verse in the Bible on how to put together an office chair or repair a sewing machine, there are life stabilizing principles that help us deal with anything we face. We learn to know God and trust Him. We learn to lean on Him by prayer, praise, and time dwelling in His Word.

This year, commit yourself to read the BOOK every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you need for your life today, each time you open it up.

My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.  Proverbs 4:4-5


Up Next: Scripture interprets Scripture
Previous Post: Connoosseur of the Word



Do you need some guidance for your life? Explore His Word to see how it can help you for what you are facing TODAY!

Do you need to pass on to your children and grandchildren the value, the critical importance in life, to love God's Word and daily dwell in it? Tell them!

Do you have a plan in place to intentionally go to God's Word every day? Make a plan to take time to read and reflect on the Bible, even if it is a short one today.