Study Bible Giveaway! Grow Closer to God in 2019

Each new year is famous (or infamous) for people setting resolutions. I’m not one for resolutions, per se, but I do believe in setting goals and prayerfully seeking God’s best. That said, what better growth goal can we set in 2019 than to know God and His Word more?

That’s why I’m so excited for this first giveaway of 2019. Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible feature over 15,000 verse-by-verse study notes, helpful commentary, historical context, and culture notes–all designed to deepen our understanding of Scripture.

Aside from the burgundy-colored leather exterior, which is absolutely lovely, opening the Bible reveals the wealth of study resources available. There’s a guide on how to study the Bible, followed by listings of articles, charts and diagrams, and word studies. Each book of the Bible begins with an introduction that explains the author, background, theme, outline of the book, and more. The print itself is a comfortable, easy-to-read size, and the full-color images add interest throughout.

I have ONE copy to give away, and I can’t wait to see who will receive it! There are several ways to enter this giveaway:

  1. Subscribe to the KristenHogrefe.com newsletter by clicking here. This is my monthly newsletter that features book news, details on more giveaways, and encouragement for your everyday life.
  2. Share my giveaway post on social media. You can find and re-share ones I have on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to tag me so that I see your post!
  3. Leave a comment below, sharing a New Year’s goal and how this Bible could help you achieve it.
  4. Do more than one to be entered multiple times!

The giveaway is open through Saturday, January 19, and I’ll announce the winner in the following week’s blog. Please note:  Since I will be mailing a physical copy of this Bible, the giveaway is only open to those in the United States.

Wishing you a year in which God’s Word becomes dearer to you than ever before!

~ Kristen

 

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and the Blog About Blogger Network for hosting this giveaway and inviting me to share it with you. 

Tweetable

Study Bible Giveaway! Grow Closer to God in 2019 – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Mason Jar Joy

Spread the joy of God’s Word this Christmas with a Scripture Promises Mason Jar! With a little time and some creativity, you can create a gift your family and friends won’t soon forget.

Inside are 100 paper slips, each personalized with a Scripture promise and your name. A friend gave me one a few years back, and I still have it on my desk today. It provides a reminder that God’s Word is relevant for whatever I’m facing.

When the shepherds saw the star in Bethlehem all those years ago, the Bible says that “they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matthew 2:10 NKJV). They had clear cause to do so! After all, the Word had become flesh (John 1:14). Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, had come to change the world and make possible reconciliation between fallen man and God.

Today, God’s Word continues to tell that good news and speak truth into our lives. What better gift to give someone this Christmas than the gift of God’s Word?

Learn how to make your own Scripture Promises Mason Jar by clicking here.

May you be filled with God’s exceeding great joy this Christmas and always! Merry Christmas!

~ Kristen

Tweetable

Mason Jar Joy – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

God doesn’t give you more than you can handle…or does He?

I’m grateful to my friend and blogger Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com for sharing this encouraging post. Her biblical, honest approach to this topic of “too much to handle” was a blessing to me, and I hope it will be to you as well.

“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve heard this saying all my life, always from well-meaning Christians.

But there have been plenty of times when I just couldn’t “handle.” After my grandmother passed away, I couldn’t handle the grief, and depression set in for two years. Later on, my body couldn’t handle what I was eating and the stress I was under, and I suffered with physical pain for several years. During those periods, hearing that God hadn’t actually given me more than I could handle felt disingenuous. What’s more, it added to my frustration and self-condemnation.

So let me give it to you straight: yes, God may give you more than you can handle.

You are human, after all, and human beings are fallible creatures. You will make mistakes. You may suffer from illness or grief. You may be called into a family role or ministry that is far more than you can do on your own. At some point, you’ll feel like you’re drowning.

But that doesn’t mean your “failing” at being a Christian.  In fact, that over-your-head feeling is all part of God’s plan to make you understand and accept your reliance on Him…

  • Like the Jews had to do in the wilderness
  • Like Noah had to do when he built a boat unlike any other
  • Like Jonah when he was sent somewhere he didn’t want to go
  • Like Paul when he shared the Gospel to the Gentiles for the first time.

The good news—no, the great news—is that you don’t walk through life alone. As a follower of Jesus, you have His ultimate protection over your life, and the Holy Spirit as your inner guide. Whenever you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, remember that God is in control. The journey may not be comfortable, and you may not end up where you wanted to go, but God is with you, and He has good plans for you. (See Jeremiah 29:11.)

I’m speaking from experience here. During my times of grief and illness, I relied on God completely. He was my Comforter, Protector, and Guide. And in the end, it was He who healed me and made me whole.

When you’re going through a rough patch, don’t rely on platitudes. Instead, claim powerful verses like these as your own, reading them out loud to encourage your spirit:

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 11:29 NAS).

 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NAS).

 “We would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NAS).

 “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NAS)

 “‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him'” (Lamentations 3:24 NAS).

Platitudes may sound nice, but the Word of God is powerful. Let His Truth give you comfort and guidance in every season of life.

Have you ever needed a word of truth, only to receive an empty platitude? How did it make you feel? Does that experience encourage you to speak truth into the lives of your loved ones?

~ By Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com

Tweetable

Platitudes may sound nice, but the Word of God is powerful. @BigSisterTweets and @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

New Smells, New Year, and 3 Timeless Truths

I remember when I bought my first car after college. It had belonged to one owner before me and still had a faint new car smell. Even more potent was the feeling of buying a car for the first time. Perhaps you can think of an experience when life brought a “new smell.”

Today, we’re on the cusp of 2018. Perhaps 2017 was a year of tremendous blessing for you, but maybe, it also brought unexpected trials or changes that have been particularly hard. For some, looking over the year doesn’t leave a warm fuzzy feeling.

While reflecting on the past has its place, even more important is focusing on what lies before us. 2018 is a gift. It’s as if God is handing us the keys to a new car that will take us both exciting and unexpected places. There will be new adventures and challenges. There might also be some flat tires or even a fender bender along the way.

We don’t know what to expect when we pass the start line of a new year, but we can hold to God’s timeless promises that offer fresh hope in 2018.

Click here to read the full post. Special thanks to The Paige Project for the invitation to guest blog!

~ Kristen

Tweetable

God’s timeless promises offer fresh hope in 2018 – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Run to the Word

Teach me,  O Lord, the way of Your statues, And I shall keep it to the end. (Psalm 119:33 NKJV)

My half marathon is just over a month away. One. Month. Away. Last week, I ran 7.3 miles and was feeling pretty good about my mileage, until I did the math.

13.1 – 7.3 = 5.8

Did I mention I never liked math? (Hence, I teach English.)

The good news is I’m over half way there. The bad news is that I almost need to double last week’s distance to reach the finish line. *Groans*

Don’t worry. I’m not quitting. I will cross that finish line. There just might be some teeth gritting, blisters, and tears.

Sometimes, my walk with God requires the same resolve. Let’s be real. In our Christian lives, we all face obstacles, trials, and temptations. If we throw in the towel when those hit us, we might need to examine if our faith is genuine or fake (like we talked about earlier).

I’m convinced the way to press through any circumstance is to put down deep roots in God’s Word. A few weeks ago, we looked at the reasons we need God’s Word. Today, let’s identify some common responses to it and examine our lives to see where we fit. Do we take it for granted, or do we run toward it like the prize it is?

In Mark 4, Jesus told the parable of the sower where he describes four responses people have to God’s Word. I encourage you to read the whole parable and explanation in verses 3-20, and then check yourself against these categories.

#1: Wayside Listeners

“And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.” (Mark 4:15 NKJV)

To these people, God’s Word is all about convenience. There’s no real relationship with the Word Giver, and the Deceiver easily steals what little truth they heard. To them, the Bible:

  • Is a nice story about a good man
  • Doesn’t really apply to their everyday lives

#2: Fair-Weather Listeners

“These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” (Mark 4:16-17 NKJV)

These people have good intentions. They enjoy hearing the “good news” of God’s Word, but there’s a disconnect between its relevance to their lives when storms or problems arise. To them, the Bible:

  • Tells sweet stories for children
  • Doesn’t solve their real-world problems

#3: Distracted Listeners

“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19 NKJV)

These people might like some of what God’s Word has to say, but they’re not willing to let its message change their lifestyles and habits. After all, what’s wrong with a little fun? To them, the Bible:

  • Is outdated
  • Preaches a doctrine that’s too narrow-minded

#4: Active Listeners

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (Mark 4:20 NKJV)

These people don’t just listen. They do what the Bible says. They search it to learn how to deal with confusing decisions, how to understand God’s will, and how to make a difference in their world. To them, the Bible is:

  • An irreplaceable lifeline to God
  • A must-have for all decisions

Let’s ask ourselves: Do we run toward God’s Word in good and bad times or only when it’s convenient? What kind of biblical listener are we?

Yes, the race is hard, and often, the training hurts. But that doesn’t mean we should quit.

Dear Lord, I want to run in “the way of Your statues” until “the end” of my life (Psalm 119:33 NKJV). By your grace, I’ll cross that finish line and hear a “well done” one day.

~ Kristen

Tweetable

What kind of biblical listener are you? – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Dare to Know God’s Word

Gutenberg Bible, Library of Congress

Know that God’s Word has to be front and center. We have to be thinking about it, be able to quote it. Refuse to let fear and discouragement hold us back; for wherever we go, God will be with us.- Lysa TerKeurst.

Last week, I introduced you to TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes, which challenged me in the area of priorities. My running friend gave me a daily calendar based on the book to help me focus daily on some key principles.

The above quote reminded me that I not only need to train physically for this half marathon, but I also need to prepare mentally for the spiritual endurance life demands. Together, we’ve challenged ourselves to memorize the book of Ephesians during the training weeks ahead.

As a teen, I committed books of the Bible to memory through the Christian Alliance Church’s Bible quiz team. Those years memorizing God’s Word built a foundation of Scripture and truth in my life that have seen me through some tough times. Recently, though, I haven’t been intentional about memorizing God’s Word, and I want to change that.

Why should we know God’s Word by heart? Psalm 119 reveals Scripture’s priceless value and offers several truths that show why we need the “living and powerful” Word (Hebrews 4:12) to be active in our lives.

God’s Word …

  1. Cleanses (Psalm 119:9). If we stray from a path or lifestyle that’s pleasing to God, we can immerse ourselves in the cleansing power of Scripture.
  2. Guards (Psalm 119:11). There’s a sign in my chiropractor’s office that says, “Prevention: the best cure for disease.” We hide God’s Word in our hearts so we won’t go places and do things that contradict God’s will.
  3. Revives (Psalm 119:25). Have you ever felt worn out with life’s trials? God’s Word provides a source of comfort and refreshment like nothing else can offer.
  4. Strengthens (Psalm 119:28). We can’t build physical endurance if we don’t exercise, nor can we grow our spiritual “muscles” if we don’t spend time in God’s instruction book.
  5. Prepares (Psalm 119:42). We can’t know what challenges, conflict, and criticism we’re going to face from people. God’s Word equips us to answer beyond our own wisdom. It won’t return to us void (Isaiah 55:11).
  6. Gives life (Psalm 119:50). The Gospel of John describes Jesus as the Word who “became flesh” (John 1:14). He came, lived, and died so that we can enjoy eternal life. Maybe the here and now presents problems that threaten to overwhelm us, but we can rest in the assurance of our eternal life, if we know Jesus as our Savior.
  7. Offers hope. (Psalm 119:76, 81). The Bible is full of “precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4) that we can pray. God’s mercy today is just as deep and wide as it was thousands of years ago, and the Word provides us with hope for tomorrow.

We’re privileged to live in a time where the Bible is more readily accessible than ever before. With a few keystrokes, we can look it up online, download it on our portable devices, and even have Scripture texted directly to our phones throughout the day (with apps like GoTandem).

Yet its availability sometimes gives us a complacency regarding its worth.

Are you spending as much time in God’s Word as you’d like? If not, what’s holding you back? Romans 12:2 says:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (NKJV).

The only way we can renew our minds and discern God’s will is to know God’s Word. 

Will you join me? You don’t even have to start with a whole book. Choose a chapter or a few verses. I encourage you to comment with your favorite passage that you’d like to know by heart.

~ Kristen

Tweetables

Dare to Know God’s Word – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

7 Reasons to Memorize Scripture – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)