February 2014 archive

How in the World Did We Get Here: Part 3

*****Ok, I lied – Part 4 is my favorite part!  There was too much to tell so here’s Part 3…or you can call it Part 2.5 if that makes you feel better…*****

Our time in Texas was HOT and, well, that about sums it up.  Good gravy…we’re still not convinced we could hack it down there as a permanent dwelling.

We lived with Wrex’s boss for three months while he learned the ins and outs of this plant.  He traveled to sales and watched and learned and calculated how to bid on cows and then got to follow them through the slaughter process to see if they made or lost money.

To be a cow buyer, you have to be able to evaluate livestock and, based on their weight and body condition, guesstimate how much they will yield (how many pounds of lean product the animal will produce), thus telling you how much you should buy one for, while also accounting for freight to get the animal to the plant. The cows have to fit the bid given out by the head cow buyer of the company, which he bases on several factors – how much meat is trading for, how much meat the plant has on hand, how much they need, where they could get it cheaper if your barn is high that day, etc.  You also have to know what your competitors are willing to spend and how far to push them to make them pay more so you can pay less.  It’s quite complicated really…and FAST.  They sell a cow about every 30 seconds, so you have to be on your game!

Around October of that year, they felt like he’d learned enough to be turned loose on his own.   For the last month, they had all strategized and come up with a list of sale barns that he would be responsible for buying at.  We would then need to find a place to live that would be a somewhat central location for him to travel from.

It needed to be somewhere in this general area...
It needed to be somewhere in this general area…

The company gave him a week off to travel and find the community and home in which we’d like to live, so we loaded up and headed north.   For as big of an area as this appears to be on the map, there aren’t a ton of communities in all of that off-white goodness.

Before we started looking in person, we had narrowed it down (based on distance alone) to six primary towns.  We also knew that we really wanted to rent a house.  Once we were married, we had accumulated over $100,000 in debt between the two of us (student loans, cars, credit cards, etc.)  Yeah, THAT’S a post for another day, for sure.  The Lord totally spoke to us regarding our debt, as did Dave Ramsey, and we had spent the last four years of our marriage getting out of debt and we weren’t really ready to jump in again with a big ole house payment.  Plus, we weren’t completely sure this was where we’d permanently be for more than a year, so it just seemed like renting made the most sense.  Those two things were pretty much the only qualifications we had for the Lord…rent and close to the chosen sale barns.

We started our journey in Wray, Colorado where some friends of ours lived.  They did their best to find us some places to look at but we learned there, and moreso as the week went on, that there were very few rental properties in the area and the ones that were available, were for sale at the same time.  We weren’t completely excited about that because we’d have to hit the road when they wanted to show the place and then find somewhere else to move if it did sell.

We looked in several communities in Nebraska and a couple in Kansas, none of which had much to offer.  Everything we did find that was empty was for sale, so we started shifting our thinking a bit.  Quickly, renting didn’t even seem to be an option….so….what next?

I remember going back to our room that night and just being shell-shocked.  Buying a house hadn’t even been on our radar.  I thought we’d find decent enough rentals and just have to be picky on the community, sign the papers, pay some money, go get our things and move in.  Not exactly.  We just continually asked the Lord to show us the place…the town…the house…the plan.

On our third day in, we felt a little defeated.   There were no rentals out there and of the towns and houses that we had looked at that were for sale, none of them feel right.  I remember leaving this cute little place in Bird City, Kansas and thinking, I guess I just never imagined giving someone directions to my house and it being in town.  Yet, I never asked the Lord for anything different.

The only place on our list of six that we hadn’t looked was Holyoke, Colorado.  The day was drawing to a close…it was going to be a little after 4:00 pm when we pulled in, so we debated even going.  The friend we were staying with during this house-hunting expedition needed a transfer needle from the vet clinic and has asked if we could pick one up while we were out and about.  We hadn’t done that yet, so we figured we could drive into town, get a needle, take a peak around, feel confused/defeated and then head home to regroup…again…

How in the World Did We Get Here: Part 2

We tossed the sheets in the wash, locked the doors and headed eight hours south to Booker, Texas.  One of our good friends from college worked as the head cattle buyer at the plant and had told the owners about Wrex.  With the drought hitting so hard in Texas, they knew cow numbers would soon be short and that they’d need to expand their buying circle.  They wanted to get a northern buyer trained and in place, but weren’t in just a huge hurry to do so; they wanted it to be the right kind of person.  Unfortunately, the cow buying business has it’s fair share of crooks and traders and this company had worked been working for a few years on cleaning up their buyer staff.

There are several owners and shareholders and only a few of them live around the Booker area.  As the Lord would have it, Wrex got to meet several out of staters, including a fellow Nebraskan.  That pretty much sealed the deal!  HA!  Kidding…but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.  Those Huskers gotta stick together…  It wasn’t a formal interview, but he was there most of the morning; a good four hours or so.  We ate lunch, said our goodbyes and then continued on to visit my side of the family.

For years, we’d talked about the possibility of him buying cows for an outfit; it’s a job that he’d been groomed for his entire life.  We didn’t have any doubts that he’d enjoy the work and he felt like things went well, but we left not knowing exactly what they were thinking.

We had a good time seeing my parents and brother and then traveled further south to see my mom’s extended family.  We don’t get down there often enough just because of time, money and distance, so it was nice to be able to have a few extra days with them.  It’s hard to have “time off” when you help run a farming/ranching operation so this was, by far, the longest visit we’d had with them since we’d been married.

They were all so sweet and were scurrying around trying to find Wrex a job down there, which would’ve been a-ok with me, bearing I could hack that heat and humidity.  I have gobs of incredible memories tied to their little area of Texas.  At the time, my grandma had already been moved into an assisted living facility and her house was on the market, as she wouldn’t be going back.  We got to stay there for what would be the last time – an incredibly bittersweet thing for me.  Talk about memories being bound to a place…we spent every Christmas and summer there since I was born and Wrex and I were married on their acreage.  It was hard to leave and at the time, every fiber of my being was just screaming for a job there so we could buy the house and keep the place alive, but it wasn’t meant to be.  I’ll always cherish that piece of our trip and I most definitely view it as a sweet little gift that the Lord gave me in the midst of an erratic time in our lives.

Once in Oklahoma, the Lord was so faithful!  We were really beginning to wonder what our next move was.  We knew we had to go back to Colorado for a few days, but then what?  He just showed us time and time again that He wasn’t absent from the process.  From people calling with words (rhemas) for us or the message at church we felt led to attend one Sunday morning that was titled, “What to do in the time of transition.”  Yeah.  That was us…and He was with us.

That Monday, Wrex got a phone call that ended in a job offer from the packing plant in Booker; they wanted him to come on as their northern cattle buyer.  He’d train in Texas for three months and then move up north and establish himself…somewhere.  They would give him a set of barns he was to buy in on a weekly basis, but he would be able to determine the specific community in which to settle.

After a day’s worth of prayer, we felt full release for him to take the job!  It felt so right and like a huge, heavy weight had been lifted off of our shoulders.  They settled on a start date, we hit the road back to Colorado to tie up a few more loose ends and grabbed a few little necessities out of storage – like a crib and a bed and a kitchen table – so that we could make ourselves at home in Texas….again.

****Part 3 is my favorite – stay tuned!****

DIY: Hair Bow

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a lover of big hair…and big hair bows.  Haven’t you heard the old adage, “the higher the hair, the closer to God?”  It’s also true that “the bigger the bow, the better the mom.”  I kid, I kid…  ;)

Sawyer was in need of a grey bow for an outfit the other day and can you believe we didn’t have one?!  The horror!  So, I found some ribbon and whipped one up.  I’ve made 90% of her bows 1.) because I’m cheap and 2.) because they’re super easy to make.  I’ll show you!

There are a ton of styles out there; I’ve done two simple versions here, both with the same basic steps.

For the simpler, single stack bow you’ll need:

  • 24 inches of ribbon
  • lighter
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • alligator clip (or your barrette of choice)

Step 1: Sear the ends so they won’t fray.

IMG_4007Step 2: Fold your ribbon in half and press the end to make a crease.  The crease will act as a marker for step 3.

IMG_4008Step 3: Open the ribbon back up and bring one end back to the middle crease, making a cancer awareness sign.  Hold it secure with your finger while you do step 4.

IMG_4009Step 4: Do the same to the other end, making a figure eight.  Secure with hot glue.

Step 5: Bring in each end and secure with hot glue.

IMG_4013Step 6: Take a 6 inch piece of ribbon and tie a knot it the center.

IMG_4011Step 7: Wrap the knot around the center of the bow and secure with hot glue on the backside.

IMG_4014Step 8: Secure your alligator clip to the back of the bow with hot glue.

IMG_4002Step 9: Get a cute little girl to model your bow!

Just don't ask her during her 30 minutes of TV of watching - ha!

Just don’t ask her during her 30 minutes of TV of watching – ha!

For the double stack bow, you’ll need:

  • 24 inches of ribbon
  • 18 inches of ribbon
  • lighter
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • alligator clip (or your barrette of choice)

Step 1: Follow steps 1-5 from above on your 24 inch ribbon.

IMG_3996Step 2: Do the same 5 steps for your 18 inch ribbon.   You’ll now have two, identical bows in different sizes.

IMG_3997Step 3: Stack your smaller bow on top of the larger one and secure with hot glue.

IMG_3999

IMG_4001

I finished this bow with a simple loop instead of a knot. You could also use a button or a jewel or something else funky!

Step 4: Secure your alligator clip to the back of the bow using hot glue.

IMG_4002Step 5: Get a cute girl to model your bow!

IMG_4005

See?  Super cute and super simple!  If you’re wanting to make a bow collection, it’s a good idea to get a few friends together.  Have each person buy different colors of ribbon than everyone else and then share your designs and colors, as one spool will make quite a few bows.  Shoot me a picture of what you make!

How in the World Did We Get Here: Part 1

Our little, ole farm house is all tucked snuggly under a blanket of snow this morning as fresh flakes are starting to fall again.  Let it be known that I don’t mind that one bit.  In my book, if it’s gonna be cold it might as well snow.

Not a creature was stirring...

Not a creature was stirring…

We’ve lived here two and a half years although it doesn’t feel near that long.  Earlier this morning, I was reflecting on how exactly we got here.  It was all Him, friends.

Wrex worked for a family company in Denver that had their fingers (successfully) in quite a few niches; ear tags, farming, purebred cattle, show goats, horses.  He had an active role in each of those endeavors and thus worked A LOT.   The situation wasn’t ideal and became less so after Sawyer was born.  A lot of mornings, Wrexy left before she was awake and came home after she was in bed and that was definitely not how we wanted to raise our family.  It would’ve been different if it was our land or our cattle or our company and we were investing this time and energy into something for our future generations, but that wasn’t the case.

So after lots of intense prayer and discussion, we knew that the Lord was calling us away from there.   On his 29th birthday, he gave his one month notice and we stepped out in faith…no job lined up, no place to live (as we were living in company supplied housing), no idea where to go…we just knew that working there was no longer obedience, but that stepping away was. 

We spent our evenings together praying and job hunting and packing.  Our house was nothing fancy but we had made a lot of special memories there.  It was the place we celebrated our first five anniversaries…the place we brought our first baby home to…the place where we hosted friends who became our roommates for a season…the place where we threw card parties and goat dehorning work days and family get togethers.  Even though we knew that our leaving was the right thing to do and that it was what the Lord was asking of us, it still stung a little.  Obedience isn’t always easy…

W spent his days tying up as many loose ends as possible.  By the end of the month, the contents of our home were moved into a storage container and we?  We were jobless and homeless…but not hopeless. 

The job part never really concerned me for several reasons.  One, I knew that we were walking in obedience so I had no doubt that the Lord had something lined up for us; He wouldn’t call us away and then hang us out to dry.  Two, Wrexy has more skills in more different areas than any person I’ve ever met.  I often tell him that he’s handicapped me as a do-er.  If something breaks or isn’t quite right or needs a little finesse, I don’t even try anymore – I just wait for him to get home because he’ll fix it in a jiffy and in a way better manner than I ever could.  Plus, he’s the most loyal, hardest working, social genius on the planet.  And three, I knew that if he had to, he would work two jobs slopping hogs or serving french fries before we ever went hungry.  Before we ever left, he was offered two different jobs, but neither of them had the stamp of the Lord and as hard as it was to say ‘no’ to them, knowing that if we said yes we could stay in the same area, ‘no’ was what we said.

During that first week of our new found homelessness, some of our favorite friends were on vacation and they allowed us to stay in their home.  This was such a huge blessing to us as we finished taking care of last minute business things and fully getting a plan in place for what was next.

We spent a lot of time in the quiet together that week.  It’s a weird feeling, especially for a type A planner to not have a plan…but to know that THE plan was to be obedient to the Lord. There is blessing in obedience – I’ve experienced that richly! I’ve also experienced the consequences of disobedience and I didn’t want to venture there again.

We prayed continually that the Lord would make our schedule for us and that He would provide us with the job that Wrex needed to say ‘yes’ to…wherever that may be.  We knew that He knew our hearts in wanting more family time and He knew our hearts in wanting Wrex to have a job that was rooted in agriculture; a job that wouldn’t find him stuck behind a desk and a job that he enjoyed.  This whole process had happened so fast and was so outside of ourselves that we had no other option but to have hope; confident expectancy in the goodness of God.

As the week was coming to a close, we made plans to visit my family in several parts of Texas and then Wrex’s sister and grandma in Oklahoma and Kansas before heading back to Colorado to finish out a ministry event we were a part of.  We had cleaned up behind ourselves and packed what we needed for a few weeks on the road with a 10 month old, when Wrex got a call that we needed to stop at the tip-top of Texas before we ventured further south; a meat packing plant wanted to meet him and see if he was a fit for their company.  Maybe, just maybe, this was it?

What Can I Say But Words

Sawyer has quite the extensive vocabulary for a three year old.  I’d say she comes by it honestly…her momma loves words and her daddy never stops talking, so there ya go!

We were talking about some of the funny word variations she’s been using lately, like favilous (fabulous) or dangerful (dangerous), and it made us think of the some of the amusing names she’s had for other things in the past.

Ever since she was a tiny tyke, a blanket has been referred to as a beat and a remote has been a motorLick chips are Doritos (because she used to like to just lick the cheesey stuff off before eating the rest) and a guh-jraffe is a giraffe, just pronounced with a hard g.  She loves when she gets to use bandits (band aids) and mecimum (medicine).  Green beans are bean beans, bacon is known as cracker and for a while, bananas were nummies.  She calls ear phones helmets, diapers are sometimes di-dees and the chill museum is also known as the children’s museum.  She loves to put her guns up and yell rack attack instead of Wreck ‘em Tech, but hey, it’s close enough for me.

All of these cute little mispronunciations and nicknames brings our lives so much joy, just like her!  I love that I can have such serious conversations with her and that I can have super silly ones, too.  She’s one of my most beloved friends; one of my favorite people on the planet.

She’s just plain favilous!

Knocking it Out of the Park

I cleaned out my desk this morning and I made it out alive!!  Phew.  It had gotten a little out of control and I’m proud to report that my laptop can fit on it’s surface again.  Ahem.

In that process, I was organizing some preschool stuff and some Bible study materials and I forgot that I had gotten out two old journals the other day, searching for some notes on a study we’d done a few years back.  I was browsing through them…which can be quite humbling, mind you.  It’s a little gut wrenching when you’re still struggling with some of the same thing you were struggling with in 2011.  Keep pressing in, Lord.

One of those journals was Wrexy’s and I was browsing through it and I came across a list he made in May of 2011 titled “Top 15 Goals for My Marriage/Family.”  I was gonna just skip right over it but I felt the Lord asking me to dwell there for a minute, so I read through them.

  1. Create a loving, God-fearing environment.
  2. To be someone Stef trusts and relies on.
  3. To be an example to others of Christian marriage.
  4. To be an involved dad, teaching my kids to do things/gain skills.
  5. To be a good provider.
  6. To teach my kids to hear from the Lord and leave a legacy of the fear of the Lord.
  7. To be a dad/husband that my family will be proud of.
  8. To instil self-worth and the truth about who they are in my kids; build each other up.
  9. To grow together as a family through acts of service/giving.
  10. To be an example of a loyal, honest, hard-working man.
  11. To grow closer to Stef with each day and year through oneness with Christ.
  12. To help nurture Stef’s gifts.
  13. To remain best friends with Stef.
  14. To communicate well with Stef, not just say what I think she wants to hear.
  15. To not grow complacent in my role as the spiritual leader of my home.

Be. Still. My. Heart.  I was absolutely speechless and so incredibly humbled reading this list.  Talk about selfless and God-centered; he gets it and we are blessed because of it.

Let me just say, you are doing a darn fine job, handsome.  I am so proud to be your wife.  You are the glue that holds this ship together and keeps us afloat and you are knocking it out of the park in the husband/dad department!

Thank you for showing us on a daily basis how Christ loved the church.

Thank you for wanting the best for us.

Thank you for dying to yourself over and over again.

Thank you for leading us and guiding us and providing for us.

Thank you for being the most gracious, forgiving, patient, honest, loyal, generous, gentle, determined, enthusiastic, unflappable, God-fearing man I’ve ever known.

****Note to readers, W and I are that couple that shares everything (as I believe all married couples should) – passwords, prayers, bank accounts, spit.  ;)  He was not at all concerned that I read his journal or that I shared it here.  His main concern was that women would be stumbling in covetousness.  Ahem.  Notice I didn’t list ‘humble’ in my description of him.  :) ****

Pinterest Picks

Pinterest has been neglected lately with the sick kiddos and all…and rightfully so.  Regardless, here are my latest faves!

This arrow...LOVE.

This arrow…LOVE.

And momma, too...

And momma, too…

How fun are these?!  I'm thinking we need these for bubba's first bday...

How fun are these?! I’m thinking we need these for bubba’s first bday…

I love mailboxes and I love this little storage idea...

I love mailboxes and I love this little storage idea…

How cute is this scarf?!

How cute is this scarf?!

Super cute napkin/silverware idea - easy, too!

Super cute napkin/silverware idea – easy, too!

Don't ask me how I know...

Don’t ask me how I know…

This bag...get on my shoulder!

This bag…get on my shoulder!

I am twitterpated over this heart wall hanging...

I am twitterpated over this heart wall hanging…

Those lips...almost as good as Wrexy's...

Those lips…almost as good as Wrexy’s…

Simple, yet adorable, cake topper...

Simple, yet adorable, cake topper…

That’s it.  That’s all I got.  I’m off to snuggle the babes!

A Biggie and a Boy Baby

Sawyer has always had a pretty intimate prayer life, especially given her age.  She is always quick to pray if she knows someone is sick or needs help or if she’s feeling really grateful.  As a parent, it’s been an incredibly cool thing to watch and foster.

This past week, she’s gotten to witness the Lord answer two prayers – how cool is that?!

The first was a biggie…a friend of ours from church was on a missions trip in Africa and had a pretty major health complication while he was there.  The church sent out an email and our family prayed loyally for him, Sawyer included.  He had a small procedure when he was there, came home early and has had follow up appointments with specialists in the area.  His wife reported yesterday that yet another doctor was stumped as to why he didn’t die while he was gone.  We all know why…because he had a multitude of people storming the gates of heaven for his health…and the Lord heard and acted.

On an incredibly (no really, a waaaaaaaaay smaller, less significant note) we’ve had a missing person around our house.  Sawyer got a dollhouse for Christmas and it came with two infants, which she named “Girl Baby” and “Boy Baby.”

Boy Baby

Boy Baby

Last week, Wryder had “Daddy” in one hand and “Boy Baby” in the other and was scooting all over the house…and then…Boy Baby went missing!  Sawyer had been quite distraught as we had looked for him EVERYWHERE; trashcan(s), diaper genie, wipes container, toy box, under the TV stand, under the chair, in the couch cushions, in the laundry – seriously, EVERYWHERE, with no luck.

Today, after searching some more, she declared that Boy Baby must be in heaven with Jesus and that we should pray for him.  Wrex told her that the Lord knew where he was and that we would pray indeed.  So we offered up a prayer of protection over Boy Baby and we asked the Lord to help us find him.  (Why didn’t we do this sooner?!)

I was laying on the floor playing with Wryder during this whole scene and, I kid you not, about 20 seconds later, I rolled over and looked under the TV stand, as I really felt like that’s the only place he could be (even though we’d already looked) and guess who I saw?  BOY BABY!

A lot of hollering and jumping and praising of the Lord commenced from all of us!  Not because Boy Baby was just that precious or important, but the lesson learned was.  He cares…even about the small things…and He will come to our aid when we petition Him.

These two things have resonated with her greatly and I know they have increased her faith, just as they have mine.  Talk to Him today, friend.  He IS Jehovah Shama…the God who hears.

Love Like That

Earlier, I told you how much I loved Valentine’s day and this year solidified those amorous sentiments even more.  My valentine is soooooo incredibly sweet (and handsome!) and he went out of his way to make the day extra special for me.  He’s good at showing love like that…

Good lookin' rascal!

Good lookin’ rascal!

Wrexy has to leave early on Fridays for his Wyoming sale, so on Thursday morning, we celebrated a little early with heart pancakes.

Yum yum!

Yum yum!

Sawyer thought these were fantastic!  I thought they turned out cute, too.  I ended up putting my batter into a condiment bottle and squeezing it out onto the griddle that way – super easy!

I woke up Friday morning to these beauties…

Gorgeous, right?!

Gorgeous, right?!

Our neighbor is a {fabulously creative} florist and she put this together for him in a vintage flout sifter, no less!  EEP!  I was THRILLED!  I absolutely LOVE fresh flowers and these are still going strong.  Every time I see them on the table I just feel joyful – love them!

The night before, I threw up a little curtain and some hearts and put everyone’s little gifts out.  I like to show love like that…

Love is in the air...

Love is in the air…

Little expressions of love...

Little expressions of love…

The day before, Sawyer wanted to make cards, so I made one for her and Wryder and I’m happy to report that it was his favorite gift.  Probably because it was the most edible, but hey – I’ll take it.

We got daddy off to work and we whipped up some cupcakes for the neighbors.  Little miss likes to share the love like that…

Red velvet, of course!

Red velvet, of course!

Cubbie bear is at our house again this week, so he got to help!  Sawyer is a great batter mixer AND sprinkler – check out the finished products…

She did great, yes?!

She did great, yes?!

She was feeling pretty rotten by the end of the day, but she had energy enough to put on her fancy dress for our V-day dinner.  Daddy was home by supper so we made steak, potatoes, squash/zucchini and garlic bread – four of his favorites!

They are so sweet...

They are so sweet…

It was just a lovely day!  I love my husband and I really, really want him to know that.  I don’t really buy into this “I don’t need a certain day to make sure my spouse knows that I love them” stuff.  You should absolutely make sure they know they are loved every day, but there is definitely nothing wrong with taking a specific time to refresh and renew those sentiments by putting that love into action, ya know?  Wrex does a great job of showing me love on a daily basis and he did especially so on Valentine’s day, making my love for him grow all the more. Everyone should want a love like that…

I hope you all had special days with your loves and more than that, I hope that you know the One who loves you more than all the rest.  The Lord’s love is so pure and so perfect…He never hurts our feelings…He’s always present and available…He doesn’t disappoint…He doesn’t love us only when we’re at our best…He loves us no matter where we go or what we do or who we’re with…

We’ve (obviously) been talking a lot about this love thing and talking to Sawyer about how God loves us.  Our family prayer has been to love like thatLord, help me to love like that…

How to Study the Bible: Topical Study

Do you ever find yourself thinking about something someone did or said (or something you did or said) and you wonder, “What does the Bible say about ________?”  I feel like I do this a lot, depending on the subject (love, sin, shame, forgiveness, etc.)  As a whole, I think we tend to know a little bit about a lot of things or we may know the gist of it, but not the full spectrum of the Lord’s heart on a specific issue…and that’s where topical studies come in.

On our quest to know the Lord more intimately through Biblical study, we’ve looked at inductive studies and personalization.  Today, let’s look at topical studies.

Topical study – a study about a specific topic…love, grace, prayer, forgiveness, humility, sin, etc.

It involves the same three basic steps that we saw in the inductive study…

  1. Observation – what does the passage say?
  2. Interpretation - what does the passage mean?
  3. Application - how does the meaning apply to me?

Observation

  1. Choose a topic.  Choose something you’re interested in or something you’d like to know more about…or something you need to know more about.  Because the Bible is so rich and vast, it’s often best to specify these even more, for example: Jesus’ love for others while on earth (instead of just trying to study love) or intercessory prayer (instead of just trying to study prayer).
  2. Make a list of related words.  Since there are so many different version out there, sometimes it’s best to write down synonyms for the topic you’re studying so that you can get a full explanation of the topic.  If you’re studying prayer, jot down ask, call, intercession, supplication, etc.
  3. Look up Bible references for your topic.  Start with a concordance to look up references to your original word and your synonymous words.  Online Bible tools (Bible Gateway, Bible Hub) have made this a lot simpler and faster, as you can do keyword searches and switch from translation to translation with the click of a mouse.
  4. Read each passage and read them in context, meaning the verses preceding and following, so that you get a full picture of what the Lord is truly saying.

Interpretation

  1. Study each reference.  Use the inductive method of the 5 w’s and h to get the full effect and meaning of the scripture.  If you feel like topics are mentioned that need further cross-referencing, then by all means, research some more!
  2. Write down your observations.  What did you learn broadly?  What is the Lord’s heart regarding your topic?  What did you see brought up consistently throughout Scripture?

Application

  1. Apply what you’ve learned.  How did the Lord speak to you during this study?  in what ways were you convicted?  In what ways do you feel like He’s asking you to make a change or application?  Write down several ways that you can apply what you have learned to your self and do just that.

Topical studies can be quite vast but OH SO RICH.  We have so much Biblical information right at our fingertips thanks to Bible search engines and study materials available online, that this should be an easy-peasy way to learn more about the Lord.  So….hop to it!  What topic is calling your name?!

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