Bible like a Boss: Week 1

We did it! We read for 7 days. Science says it takes 21-60 days to create a habit…so, we are somewhere between 11-30% of the way there, depending on our inclinations. This week we have read the first 7 chapters of Matthew, Genesis, Romans, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Joshua, Isaiah, and Acts. We completed the book of 1 Thessalonians and have started, and almost finished, 2 Thessalonians.

So, let’s get started:

Matthew

“Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

We discovered the genealogy, birth, and early life of Jesus. God called Joseph and Mary to, “Get up, Move, and to Stay elsewhere,” early on to protect him from the genocide of infant boys under King Herod. We learned about John the Baptist and preparing the way for Jesus. We got to read about Jesus’ baptism and being tempted in the desert for 40 days by the enemy. Then, Jesus begins his ministry by gathering His disciples. We learn His first instructions for how to live, love, and be through His sermon on the mount.

Questions: Which part of the ‘sermon on the mount’ spoke to you most? In what ways has God called you to “Get up, Move, and stay elsewhere”?

Genesis

“God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” Genesis 1:27

Genesis starts us off with the creation of the world and everything in it. We understand the roles of mankind and that we were created in God’s image. Quickly, we watch the fall of man as Adam and Eve partake from the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and life drastically changed for mankind after. The first murder happens between their sons, Cain and Abel and we watch God bless Adam and Eve with another son, Seth. Humankind expands alongside our wickedness and God wants to wipe out the entire Earth….But Noah. We get to revel in the hope of ONE MAN…a foreshadow of what is to come.

Questions: If you could live in Eden, what would you find most enjoyable? Why are we so prone to sin? Think of examples in your own life where your natural response is to sin. In what ways do you see the coming redemption of Jesus through Noah’s story?

Romans

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

We start off with one of the many of Paul’s letters. Here is writing to the Romans, which pairs beautifully next to the next book, Thessalonians. Romans focuses a lot on humans being sinners, by nature. It also provides the hope of salvation given to us through Christ. Romans beautifully illustrates how sin separated us from Christ, but through Christ’s life and resurrection, we can gain new life through faith in Him. He also begins to tell why sin is a problem and our desperate need for Jesus.

Questions: Do you believe we should follow the law or do you believe that we are free from the law through grace? Why? In Romans 5, Paul says that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. In what ways have you seen this illustrated in your own life?

Thessalonians

“So, we speak, not to please people, but rather God, who examines our hearts.” 1 Thess. 2:4b

We see “Grace to you and peace” again at the beginning of this letter. So, I read through the study notes in my ‘She Reads Truth’ study bible to find that Paul started each letter like that intentionally: He wanted the church of each city to know that there can be no wholeness apart from Christ’s kindness. Moving forward, we see grace upon grace on the people of Thessalonica because they worshipped idols and yet, received the gospel with full assurance. In Thessalonians 5, beautiful verses flood the pages. Two of my favorites are: God didn’t make us for wrath, but for salvation through Jesus (v.9) & He who calls you is faithful; He will do it (v. 24).

Questions: In what ways have you experienced Christ’s kindness leading to wholeness? How have you seen Him “Do it” in your own life? In Thessalonians 2, Paul prays that Jesus will encourage our hearts and give us strength in every good work and word. Stop and say a quick prayer for that specifically.

Job

“Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Job 2:10

Every time I read Job, my heart breaks. The older I get, the more I find myself coming back to this book when times get difficult. Somehow, I find comfort and encouragement in Job’s relentless clinging to the Lord. To recap, Job was a blessed man in every sense of the word and God allowed Satan to attack him in order to prove the point that Job’s faith in Him was stronger than any of his Earthly blessings. So, Satan attacked everything but couldn’t lay a hand on Job. Then, Satan came back and covered Job in boils. Then, we hear Job speak and in a tough season, these words seem so relatable with heartbreaking questions and pain with no answers. Unfortunately, in his despair, Job’s friends to provide more drama and discouragement than anything.

Questions: How does the book of Job remind us of God’s goodness? List 3 statements that resonated with you in the first 7 chapters. How can this book teach us to be a better friend to those going through hard times?

Psalms

“[his] delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and [he] meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears fruit in its season.” Psalms 1:2-3

Psalms is my prayer manual. David has such beautiful words and as a man after God’s own heart, I refer back to this book often to find his intimacy with the Lord speaking straight to every situation I face. From wisdom, confidently facing hard times, nightly prayers, and God’s refuge. We have read it all this week. To me, if you are ever struggling, I always open my Bible to its heart, Psalms and follow it up with wisdom from Proverbs.

Questions: In psalms 1, it talks about the two ways; how do they differ? How does you life line up with the two ways? Write down a verse from Psalms 1-7 that spoke to you.

Proverbs

“Pay attention to my words…for they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22

If you read ANY part of scripture, make Proverbs your daily pit stop. I’ve never read a chapter without picking up a highlighter and a pen…no matter how many times I read it. Somehow, loving instruction and wisdom seem to put everything into perspective. As an entrepreneur, this book has served me well from relationships, money, perspective, and focusing on what is truly important. Proverbs is a fountain that will continue to fill you up, as long as you keep coming back. Proverbs 1-3 focuses on knowledge and wisdom; these two being the grand prize in life, apart from salvation. In Proverbs 4, we are taught to follow the Lord’s instruction that lead us to a life of blessings. Finally, Proverbs 5-7 talk about lust, seduction, adultery, and marriage. 10 pages of the best personal development book you will ever read.

Questions: Proverbs 6 talks about laziness and ants; in what ways does this encourage you to be motivated in your work? Why do you believe wisdom, knowledge, and instruction are the most valuable things for us?

Joshua

“This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night…for then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.” Joshua 1:8

Joshua is now leading the Israelites to take their land, but they must fight some battles first. This book is one of the many “War books”. We begin in Jericho, where 2 spies go to scout the land. They come upon Rahab and stay with her and she keeps them safe in exchange for her family’s protection when they Israelites take over. They leave with the men of Israel and stay in Acacia Grove to consecrate themselves. To create intimacy with God again, the Israelite men were circumcised and God removed the disgrace from them. Now, they are called to march around the city of Jericho for 7 days. On the seventh day, they must march around it 7 times, sound their trumpets, and shout and the wall collapses. We end with another battle and a loss because the Lord was not fighting their battles due to one man taking what wasn’t his. This man was judged and put to death.

Question: In what ways does this contrast the way we live through grace? What is a “Jericho” in your life that God may be calling you to march around in order to take it?

Isaiah

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.” Isaiah 7:9b

Oh, the book of prophecies! This is a book that can be revealing about our character and our current world. We see a prophet begging his people to simply turn from their wickedness and obey. We see him telling of God’s judgement coming soon. BUT….there is more to this story and hope awaits us as we continue reading. I promise…Isaiah is just getting heated up.

Questions: What comparisons can you draw between the world Isaiah is in and the world we are living in today? In Isaiah 7, we see the first prophecy about Jesus. Do your research to find how many years separated the writing of Isaiah and the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Acts

“We must obey God rather than people” Acts 5:29

Imagine learning everything you know from your teacher and now living in life without them. Grief is weird, but so is calling. Acts is the introduction to the world after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. So, you can imagine…it’s crazy! There’s both good and bad. The beautiful part: the Church was new and growing by thousands a day and the Holy Spirit has now come upon believers. The sad part: persecution was on the rise and the Sanhedrin (71 elite Jewish council) were NOT happy about the disciples talking about Jesus. There are 2 arrests in the 7 chapters we read. The Church was growing rapidly and the disciples had to appoint some additional leaders to take over the daily distribution with Stephen being chosen as one. If you ever need a recap of God’s plan from beginning to end, Stephen’s sermon is a great place to start (Acts 7). We wrap up our reading with the first Christian martyr and see the great need for Jesus, even in a culture that was able to fully experience Him.

Questions: Put yourself in the time of Acts; come up with three adjectives to describe what you would be experiencing if you were a follower of Jesus. Do you feel that boldness is still difficult within our culture today? How did Stephen’s sermon help you to see the full circle moment of our need for Christ?

I hope this week nourished your soul. Can’t wait to recap and study deeper with you next week. Let’s get to reading!

Love,

Tailor

Read the Bible like a Boss

I have started to read the Bible in a year plan for the last decade. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I have failed every time. Somewhere in the middle of the Old Testament and a busy life, I suddenly skipped a day and then another and then it felt like a lost cause. I simple shrugged my shoulders and said, “Maybe next year,” the way we treat a new diet that we’ve failed or a New Years’ Resolution. But…then my life changed.

My great grandmother passed away, leaving behind a beautiful faith and scripture-filled legacy that I wanted a piece of. So, here I am; 60 chapters done in 6 days and I come thirsty for more every morning as I excitedly open up the Word to read and discover more.

So, what am I doing?

I am reading the Horner’s Bible Plan and I selected it among the hundreds of other choices for 2 reasons:

  1. Read & Retain: It is designed to read and re-read with no real ending. It is also built to help you retain every time you read through it, which if you’re someone like me, retention is super powerful when memory verses weren’t really your thing as you tried, failed and started over again. Believe it or not, the man who created this program has been doing it for 23 years and can quote entire books of the Bible. INCREDIBLE!
  2. Read through multiple times in a year converting between old and new testament: This one is important because I have cherry-picked the Word in the sense that I read what I want to read and skip over the lineages and measurements of the ark and skip through books like, ahem, Leviticus. I’ve learned that to know God fully means that we must also know His Word fully. Within each page of scripture is a glimpse of His heart.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’d really like to be a Bible Boss in a world that glorifies knowing all of the reality TV stars lives but can’t tell you one bit of the Bible. I’d really like to quote off scripture like my favorite song lyrics in opposition to the world that quotes off filthy rap music and spits game to their crush through a hook-up app. Believe me, in the first 6 days, I am beginning to see the disconnect between where God calls us and where I have been living…Let’s study to learn and live out the Word in the world that rolls their eyes at modesty and bashes women who believe in submission and sanctification.

So, if you are in…let’s do this. I am creating weekly summaries of the chapters we read each week along with a questionnaire and deeper studying.

I’m excited to study God’s Word with you. I know that by leaning into His Word, we can rest in His promises, His truths, and His will. Let’s do this!

Love, Tailor

5 Unique Ways to Study the Bible

Over the years, I have gone through dozens of bible studies all filled with their own flavor and approach to study the bible. Some were very straight forward and some were like a recipe for relationship with Jesus that took several ingredients and steps to create something to feast on. I have learned and gleaned from all of them and after over a decade of pouring into God’s Word, I have found some unique ways to study the word that I believe will liven up your daily quiet time.

  1. Understanding : Over the years, I have learned that simply reading the Word, no frills, is deeply needed for our development and understanding of who we are and what we were created to do. Without understanding the Word of God, we are missing out on reading the manual of our identity. It’s like skipping the instructions for putting together a 200-piece furniture set. Somewhere, you’re going to get it wrong. Of course, while God is very straight forward, some translations are easier to read than others: The Message and The Passion Translation* (my favorite).
    • Recommendation 1: Select a book of the Bible, read 1 chapter per day in 2 different translations Recommendation 2: Select a chapter of Scripture, read in both translations, write what you believe is the message to be learned.
  2. Breaking It Up & Piecing Together: THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, but as a puzzle lover and a girl who LOVES a good treasure hunt, this is my favorite way to get lost in the digging of true treasure. This is time-consuming, but so much fun and so rewarding.
    • Recommendation: Use blueletterbible.org and select 1 verse, word, or chapter to study. You can easily get lost down the rabbit hole, so start simple by playing around on the site and finding out the true meaning of the Greek and Hebrew translations by drawing connections across verses, books, commentaries, cross references, etc. For more information on studying like this, please read, “Mercy Like Morning” by Jane Johnson. AMAZING!!!!!
  3. Psalms & Proverbs: These two books of Scripture are pivotal in not only our understanding of WHO God is, but WHAT He has done. If you are going to seek to understand ANY book, I would start in one of these books.
    • Recommendation: Read each chapter aloud as you would if you were talking to God. For vocabulary that feels more natural, try The Message or The Passion Translation. These are also great starting places to develop a prayer life. Using Scripture can not only develop our understanding, but also build our faith as we recognize all that God has done before.
  4. Truth or Trash: This one is personal and so valuable. How many times have we said something so ugly to ourselves? How many times have we torn ourselves down in an effort to make us feel better? I speak first-handed when I say this. “You just suck at everything. I don’t know why you thought you would be good at this. You are worthless. No one cares about you. Life sucks right now because there’s nothing good at me. Everyone else has great lives and mine is just filled with hardship after hardship.” I know. It sounds awful, but are we even being real with ourselves if we can’ admit the harmful words that leave our mouth?
    • Recommendation: Get real with yourself. Write down every negative thing you believe about yourself, your life, your career, your family, etc. Then, be a truthfinder and find a truth in scripture that negates every negative thought you have. We do this not only because it helps us see the light in the darkness, but because when it comes down to a tough spot, we can cling to the truth.
  5. Pick an Author: While the Word of God is truly the breath of God Himself, there were around 40 people, inspired by God to write the Living Word of God. Each of their writing styles is different and studying the geography, history, and writing style really opens up a lot of our understanding of not only WHO God is, but WHO the people He called are. This is not only valuable for our comprehension of His Word, but for relating to the men He used; broken, sinful, and in need of a Savior. Sound familiar?
    • Recommendation: Choose an author. Choose a book to start. Study the geography, history, and any commentary of the author of that book. You can also use blueletterbible.org for this activity as well.

I hope and pray that this flavors your spiritual feast with richness. Sometimes, in the digging, we find exactly what we are looking for. And sometimes, we may find something we weren’t even looking for. Sometimes, the things we study aren’t to provide answers, but to provide humility, obedience, understanding or forgiveness. These things aren’t always what we come to the Father for, but it’s in these tasks that we not only grow in spiritual maturity, but we grow in our likeness of Jesus. So, get to studying. Get to reading. Get to praying. Get to anything that creates a wildfire in your soul; the treasure you’ll find is priceless.

Bonus: it can’t ever be taken away.

The Last 90 Days

If you look on IG these days, you’ll see thousands of women participating in the #last90dayschallenge. This is a challenge designed by Rachel and Dave Hollis to help you thrive and achieve your best during the last 90 days of the year.

There are 5 components of this:

  1. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water
  2. Wake up one hour earlier to have time for YOURSELF
  3. Eliminate one food category every 30 days
  4. Work out at least 30 minutes daily
  5. Write down 5 things you are grateful for

Of course, as a totally basic chick, I am intrigued. Thousands of women committing to eating healthier, drinking more water, showing gratitude, working out daily, and getting up earlier is RIGHT UP MY DANG ALLEY!

Why, you ask?

Well, let me tell you. Resolutions own me…every year. I start so strong and slowly creep away as I go hide behind all of the bad habits that continue to keep me glued down to the room of mediocrity that’s coated in molasses.

The truth is, I love this challenge, not because it’s trendy or feels good.  I love that someone is calling me out on all of my shortcomings and encouraging me show up as the best version of myself. It’s like your friends and accountability group are your own cheerleaders, rooting for you and also doing this weird rewiring with you.

We love these things because we like not only who we become but we like that there are people who are truly FOR us. We like to know that at the end of the day, someone is proud of us and will still stick around when we totally cave and sleep in, eat way too much chips and queso, and took a break from the gym. More importantly, we like that we have a reason to be better and show up for who we want to be. We like the people who are checking in with, “Is your workout complete? How about your water today? What about your gratitude journal? How are you?”

Most importantly, as an enneagram 2, I like that I can show up for me. I often feel so guilty for spending so much time on personal development that it has caused me to suffer in so many areas. I can’t help but look at the girl I’ll be 3 months of now and knowing how proud she will be. So, that’s truly the only “why?” I need. I love that in the short 2 days of this challenge, I have started created habits that will one day lead to a legacy of life long decisions. These 5 simple habits are already creating other habits within me in just a short amount of time, so I can’t wait to see

So why the “last 90 days”? Why not all of the time? Sister, this is just one chapter in the book of things to come. I feel silly that I needed a challenge and a gutsy girl friend to pluck me from out of my comfort zone of mediocrity, but at the end of the day…I know I will look back on these 90 days and realize that I changed the trajectory of my life simply because I was willing to commit to myself and promise to start living in the fullness I know I was destined for. I decided to start showing up for the me I want to be and if this is a vehicle to propel me there, by gosh, I’m going to be in that driver seat.

So, join us. It’s never too late for the last 90 days, so we might as well show up as if it really is the last of them and live them well. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

Sign up here: https://thehollisco.com/pages/last-90-days

I Don’t Have a Dad; I have a Father

For most of my life, I grew up in a perfect bubble.

Divorce? That’s what other people’s parents did…not mine.

Weird relationships with your dad? Sure…my dad was weird, but I always thought we were close in a way fathers and daughters were.

Stepmoms? Couldn’t relate, other than seeing them in movies.

Arguing parents? Not our house. We had so much fun with family nights and dinners and talking for hours on end.

And then one day, he walked away. Literally. Packed up a suitcase and decided he didn’t want “this” anymore.

I don’t know what heartbreaks have completely shattered your heart and caused you put life on hold just to put all of the pieces back together again. But I do know, with confidence, there is a purpose behind every pain we face.

The thing that destroyed my vision of the future helped me to see through different eyes filled with faith and hope.

The thing that made me question every relationship, helped me to appreciate people in a new way and learn the value of giving people your presence.

The thing that caused grief beyond compare, helped me to feel empathy and compassion to walk into other’s pain.

Most importantly, it led me to where I was supposed to go. Because despite things not working out how they are supposed to (deaths of loved ones, relationships being torn apart, careers taking a different path, and long seasons in the waiting room), God’s plan always illuminates the path to where we should be.

You see, in the midst of me putting all of my trust in people, things, and comforts, I was neglecting a Faithful Father that had been there all along. And unfortunately, He was getting a lot of the blame from me. “How could you do this to me? Why am I being punished? Why does my life continue to be out of alignment with the thing I so deeply want?” We’ve all been there.

And then, I was reminded Who He is and I stopped. The Word gives us invaluable information that not only trust in, but base our lives on.

There are 66 books of the bible filled with knowledge, power, and guidance for us to live a divinely orchestrated life in relationship with a Father who will never leave. And that, my friends, is what good daddy’s do: fill our life with affirmations and truth, guide us back to where we are supposed to be going, help us to fight every battle with power and defenses, and the desire for relationship with us.

In one of my bible studies with Priscilla Shirer, I wrote this down and write it everywhere to remind me of the value and treasure I have within the Word of God and found in each and every book. I hope this helps you to find treasures in each book, no matter how difficult it is to relate to.

  • In Genesis, He is the Breath of Life
  • In Leviticus, He is the High Priest
  • In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb
  • In Numbers, He is the Fire by Night
  • In Deuteronomy, He is Israel’s Guide
  • In Joshua, He is Salvation’s Choice
  • In Judges, He is Israel’s Guard
  • In Ruth, He is the Kinsman-Redeemer
  • In 1 & 2 Samuel, He is Sovereign
  • In Ezra, He is the True & Faithful Scribe
  • In Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder of Walls
  • In Esther, He is Courage
  • In Job, He is the Timeless Redeemer
  • In Psalms, He is the Morning Song
  • In Proverbs, He is Wisdom
  • In Ecclesiastes, He is the Time & Season
  • In Song of Solomon, He is the Lover’s Dream
  • In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace
  • In Jeremiah, He is the Weeping Prophet
  • In Lamentations, He is the Cry for Israel
  • In Ezekiel, He is the Call from Sin
  • In Daniel, He is the Stranger in the Fire
  • In Hosea, He is Forever Faithful
  • In Joel, He is the Spirit’s Power
  • In Amos, He is the Strong Arms to Carry You
  • In Obadiah, He is the Lord, Our Savior
  • In Jonah, He is the Great Missionary
  • In Micah, He is the Promise of Peace
  • In Nahum, He is our Strength & Shield
  • In Habakkuk & Zephaniah. He is our Revival
  • In Haggai & Zechariah, He is the Restorer of the Lost
  • In Malachi, He is the Son of Righteousness
  • In the Gospels, He is The Messiah
  • In Acts, He is Reigning Fire from Heaven
  • In Romans, He is the Grace of God
  • In the Corinthians, He is the Power of Love
  • In Galatians, He is Freedom from Sin
  • In Ephesians, He is Glorious Treasure
  • In Philippians, He is the Servant’s Heart
  • In Colossians, He is God & the Trinity
  • In Thessalonians, He is our Calling King
  • In Timothy, Titus, & Philemon, He is the Mediator & Faithful Pastor
  • In Hebrews, He is our Everlasting Courage
  • In James, He is our Healer
  • In Peter, He is the Faithful Shepherd
  • In John & Jude, He is the Lover Coming for His Bride
  • In Revelation, He is the First & Last, our Savior Forever

Wow, talk about a Dad with a resume’. Despite the challenges we face and gaps and imperfections we often find in our relationships with friends, spouses, parents, siblings, or even within ourselves, we can rest in the fact that we have a faithful, timeless, grace-giving, lost-seeking, love-saturated Father ready to lavishly pour every ounce of His gifts on us. And He supplies every need and supplies far more than anything ever taken away from you.

So, while I don’t have a dad, I do have a Father…and sister, so do You.