Saturday, January 18, 2014

Travel Light Connections: 1.4

Did you notice the four Bible study methods you used this week? (see page 16 in the workbook)

Reading in context
Beginning with prayer
Character study
Praying scripture

Which method do you find most interesting or useful?

If you are studying with a group, don't miss the assignment at the top of page 17. Please write your favorite verse from Psalm 139 right there in the space provided.

What is your viewpoint on Esther? When I say "viewpoint" I don't mean the main message of the book. I mean what stood out to you? What encouraged you or urged you to action?

I hope you caught the adventure of the book of Esther. I hope that you have a sense of accomplishment (you read a whole book!) and that you have glimpsed the excitement of reading God's word.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Travel Light Connections: 1.3

Read: Esther 8, 9 and 10

Today I noticed Esther 9:22:

As the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (Emphasis added)

This reminded me of Psalm 30. Go read it at

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Travel Light Connections: 1.2

As I read the book of Esther, I see God's sovereignty. He allowed Haman to come to power but he also allowed Esther to become queen.

I noticed Mordecai's words:

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

This sounded like the same idea I read in Job:

But He is unchangeable; who can oppose Him?
He does what He desires.
He will certainly accomplish what He has decreed for me,
and He has many more things like these in mind. (Job 23:13-14 HCSB)

Mordecai urged Esther to step into God's plans for her life, to accept her calling and trust in God's protection.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Travel Light Connections: 1.1

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

I wonder if Esther knew this verse, or some other similar verse from Psalms. Did she have a portion of God's Word memorized, to cling to as she entered the king's presence? I am sure she knew the stories of the heroes of Israel who trusted in God. 

This is one of the reasons that Bible study is so important. We need these stories of God's faithfulness to comfort and reassure us in our own times of distress. 

(New to this blog? Read about Travel Light here.)

Take a moment to meditate on the fact of God's faithfulness. Remember that He loves you, just as you are. He will welcome, pardon, cleanse and receive you!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Travel Light Connections: Class Discussion 1.0

I'd love to connect with all of you who read Travel Light but aren't able to attend my class. I'm going to post very short thoughts on each daily segment of the workbook--the thoughts I might share in class. (Read about Travel Light here if you are new to this blog.)

Welcome! Thanks for joining me on this journey through God's Word. Please read the Introduction on page 3. Notice the Table of Contents on page 1, and the Appendix on page 89. You will be using the Appendix every week. Don't miss the Timeline on page 91 (you'll want to know how each book we read fits into the timeline) or the Soundtrack on page 92 (with my favorite recording of each hymn in the study).

Now turn to page 5 and open your study time with the prayer Psalms at the top of the page.

Read the rest of page 5, then turn to page 6 and 7. Follow the directions on those pages. I suggest reading the Local Color section in between Esther 1 and 2. I included an example of the kind of notes I take on page 7.  You might write a lot more than I do--or a lot less.

As you answer the questions, try to put aside what you may know of the rest of the story, and concentrate on what you read in chapters 1 and 2.

Today the verse that caught my attention was Esther 2:15: "Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her."

The Bible doesn't give us a lot of details about Esther, but it is obvious that she made the best of a situation that was out of her control. What do you think the character qualities of a woman who was "winning favor" might have been? (See what the word "favor" means here.)

I am sure you are wondering why you are reading Esther when the cover of this study says you are going to study the book of Mark. I gave you this week in Esther because I wanted you to begin your study with an adventure. I want you to see the value of reading the whole story.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

As you begin to Travel Light

Travel Light is not a study that spends an hour on one verse, wringing out every detail of doctrinal detail and following every topic across the tapestry of the entire Bible. I enjoy those kinds of studies very much, but sometimes I need a break from having all the details handed to me. Sometimes I need to set out on my own journey through the scriptures. 

On the other hand, Travel Light is not a study that tells you to only read your Bible and avoid all the commentaries and resources that are available. The Bible is God's Word and the Holy Spirit will speak to you through it--but sometimes a little assistance from resources is helpful.

As you begin this study, ask the Lord to speak to you. Perhaps you would like to echo the words of this hymn:

Speak O Lord
Lyrics here
by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Travel Light

Travel Light is my newest Bible study, and it's a whole new format! Read this post first, and then come back for a few more details.

Travel Light is a map through several books of the Bible, with suggested resources to enhance your journey. The goal of this study is not to do every page of the workbook, but to find your own pace.

Travel Light's pace through the Scriptures may be a little faster than other studies you have done. I scheduled this for several reasons. First of all, I want you to read in context—to read the text as it was written, rather than a verse or two at a time. Secondly, I want you to read and listen to the Word. I am not going to give you my thoughts on every verse, or point out every doctrinal detail. This is your journey. There is great value in slower reading plans and detailed explanations, but in Travel Light you will walk a little faster and gaze at wider horizons.

I chose several different genres of Scriptures: a gospel, a book of history, a few minor prophets, and an epistle. You will see that with a few resources, you can understand any book of the Bible. I pray that one of these genres will catch your attention and call you to study on your own.

If you are leading a group through this book, you'll need to check out the list of resource books in the appendix (see page 93-98). I use these resources as a rotating library with my group. Everyone takes a resource book home for a week (beginning in week three), and brings it back the next week to trade in for a different resource book. I chose books that would be accessible to new believers, yet also interesting to more mature believers. I buy “Like New” copies from sellers at to save a few dollars on resources. I tell my group that it's okay if they don't enjoy a book. The purpose of this study is to try several types of resources and see what fits your needs. Because of the lending library format, you will not need one of every resource for each student. So if you have fifteen in your group, you'll order three of each of the five resources. If you as a leader would like to introduce your students to a different resource book, you will just need to write a few guidelines for that book and insert them in each student's binder.