by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on January 20th, 2020

Hello January!  It is the beginning of a new year and a new decade. Something seems more fresh this year than others. We've looked further back this month than previously, making an evaluation of the past 10 years! Shoot, I can still remember the calendar flipping over from 1999 and waiting for all the computers at work to crash and the world to stop spinning. Anyone else?

Flash forward 20 years - yikes! - and it is officially "the future".

I wasn't going to do it this year, but everyone began posting about their "one word" and so I began wondering what mine might be IF I were to join in. I went through a list of several that sounded good, you know, like words which would challenge me, but just not too much. Comfortable growth.

But as always, when I began talking to God about it, it He didn't hesitate to supersede my intentions. Interesting that for all the times He offers us comfort, it never seems to be in the area of our spiritual growth.
Intentional.

Yup, that's my word. Not a bad word, you would think. Well, let me tell you about myself.

I don't wear a watch and almost never set an alarm. I'm the friend that is never early. I'm creative, my mind runs alllll the time. My attention span is on par with a gnat. (Do gnats even have an attention span?) Long before I can cross any finish line, my brain has already lined up several more things to do. I chase squirrels, a lot of them. I love to brainstorm with my friends and help them come up with things for them to do. I'm totally spur of the moment. I actually thrive in an atmosphere of change.

Not really a portrait of intentionality. That's not to say that I don't plan well. I can plan the fire out of any project. Follow through, crossing the finish line, that can be a challenge.

INTENTIONAL
Purpose or attitude toward the effect of one’s actions or conduct

God gave me my word, so my next step was to see what the Bible had to say about being intentional. Surprisingly, not a lot directly. I will be spending the year on this topic in my personal study time, so I know God will be teaching me much.

But i did come across this translation of Ephesians 5:10; it's pretty direct. This will be "my verse" for the year.
"Figure out what will please Christ, and do it."
Ephesians 5:10 MSG
If God wants you to do something, then it should involve a conversation with him, so I prayed and asked Him what living intentionally should look like for me. If this is your word also, for you, it may mean something else and look completely different. But for me, God gave me three specific goals and three more scriptures. Each of these will be expanded as God teaches me more, but here are my initial thoughts.
Hurdle #1. Consistency. If you are a creative, I'm wondering if this is a growth opportunity for you as well.

Let nothing move you - all of those shiny new ideas will need to be kept in check. The inspiration is a beautiful thing, but they need to take their place in line.

Give yourself fully to the work of the Lord - my word, intentional, does not just apply to my "work" - my ministry - but also to my other work - my family, home, health, church, friends, etc.

Your labor is not in vain - none of this work is for me. I know that I know this. But being self-employed with my own ministry, I have to admit that I pretty much do what I want. It seems it's a lot about me. Or at least I've made it that way. 
Hurdle #2, Efficiency. Did I mention I am easily distracted and love to chase after new ideas?

The sluggard craves and get nothing - a friend recently asked me a very simple question in regards to a "big idea" I had. She asked, "Do you want to do the work?" Profound moment. The truth was I loved the idea, but no, I really didn't want to expend the resources to do the work.

The diligent is richly supplied - I know this is a proverb and not a promise, but I am believing God will supply all the resources for all of the assignments given to me BY HIM. I can see discernment is going to need to come into play here also.
The reward, Fruitfulness. This is the goal. the hurdle attached to this, though, will be to let God define what the fruit should be.

Walk worthy of the Lord - if ever there is an undeniable edict of how we are to conduct our business, this is it. I can not let the world and culture influence the ethics which must be adhered to and exemplified.

Bearing fruit in every good work - all kinds of fruit, bug fruit, little fruit. Fruit which pleases God.

Increase in the knowledge of God - this is the ultimate goal after all. The work done here is really kingdom work. May my kingdom work bring me closer to the King.

Soul Friends, I would love to hear about your "one word", or your 4 words or whatever word / focus / goal God has placed on your heart for 2020. Share with us below and inspire a friend. We're all walking through this world together, let's lift each other up; let's encourage and inspire each other.

Blessings #SoulFriends,
Download a printable of this Ephesians 5:10 Scripture Art, and add to your space for a great reminder. I have mine in my office.

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on January 6th, 2020

I am such a question asker. I am always seeking out explanations because I want to understand better. I want to know the who and whys, and the where and whens.

When I open my Bible to read and study, the questions begin falling from my head to my paper and this really spurs my research and study. Who wrote this? Who were they talking to? When was this? Why did such and such happen? What does this word mean? and on and on. I can pass the two hour mark undisturbed (and totally unaware) very easily.

But I don’t always have 2 hours to sit and study. How about you?

To shorten my study time from 2 hours to, let’s say 5 minutes, it meant I was going to have to cut out a lot.

Just a girl and her Bible

No study books or devotionals. No commentaries or parallel translations. No Greek / Hebrew dictionaries. No webpages or apps.

When I stripped away all of those man (women) written works  ---- [ pause button. Don’t read anything extra into this, I love resources, all kinds of resources; study resources are great and I will continue to use them, just not for this process. ]  As I was saying, when I stripped away all of those works written by human hands, all I had left was God’s Word and God.

(Insert Ah-Ha moment here)

My friend Jodie Barrett of Faithfully Following Ministries, did an on-line study not long ago focusing on studying the Bible verse by verse. In one of her study methods, she encourages us to lay aside the commentaries and devotionals. "It's the voice of others we want to set aside while we allow God an opportunity to speak to us directly thorough His Word and His Spirit within us."

I love this because it can be difficult to hear God speaking to us when we are focused on what others are speaking to us (even through their writings, even true and accurate teaching).
So, I thought I would give a shortened study method a try on the days my schedule did not really allow the long study periods.


Read - Pray - Write

I began thinking of a few single questions I could ask of almost any scripture. I would only use a single question per scripture, but I like variety, so I wanted to switch up the questions every day.

I narrowed my list to just 6 questions. This would work for Monday – Saturday, taking Sunday off. Or I might just use a couple of questions a week.

Here are the questions:
1. What does today’s scripture reveal to me about God?
2. How can today’s scripture help me grow spiritually?
3. How does today’s scripture affect my relationship with God?
4. How is God speaking to me through this scripture?
5. How does today’s scripture help me to see through God’s eyes?
6. What does today’s scripture teach me about God’s nature?


My process is just this: Read – Pray – Write

1. Read the Scripture : I am following along with our Endurance Scripture Reading List, but you can use a list or which ever selection method you prefer.

2. Pray : Then I talk to God. I read the scripture back to him. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand. Then I ask the specific question. I find I actually go back and forth with these steps. I read and pray, then I read through it again. Maybe several times even.

Then something beautiful always happens, I feel this understanding come over me. I say feel, not because it is a feeling, but because I really don’t hear anything audible. It’s more like I am receiving an answer, it is made clear to me.

3. Write – Then I write down the answer I have received. I love having this record of the conversation.


I have to admit that this study geek is really enjoying this process. I’m not looking for theological answers with historical references, I just want to know what God wants me to know.

I love a quote from Jen Wilkin that I read recently, she said the best Bible Study Question is: What does this scripture tell me about God?

And that’s it. Pure and simple. Sometimes I think we overcomplicate the process of studying our Bible. Or maybe in the process that is stuffed full of resources and man-written words, we omit or overlook the most simple – but most important – reason we study the Bible to begin with .... To know God.

As I study the Bible this year, I will be including this new Day Quick Study. If you do too, I would love to know what you think. How you like it, if you like it. And what God speaks to you through this time with Him.

Blessings #SoulFriends
The scriptures used in this blog’s examples are from our “Endurance” Scripture Reading List, which can be downloaded from our Soul Inspired Resources.

Have you heard about our NEW Inspired Subscriber Program?

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on December 30th, 2019

I think I am more excited about this year’s Soul Inspired Bible Study topics than ever before. Can I give you a peek of the behind the scenes for a minute? It might surprise you.

Like other authors, you might be thinking that I spend time studying a topic then share it with y’all once I’ve finished and have it all nice and neatly written. But for me, it really doesn’t work that way. At least not with our monthly topics. You see, I will be studying each of our 12 topics right along with you.

In November of each year, I begin praying about what topics God wants me to learn about in the coming year. Kind of like everyone does selecting their “one word” but I’m looking for 12. And God always answers this prayer right away! Typically in one sitting I walk away with a list.
The topics for 2020 even include a couple of topics we’ve covered before a few years ago, so those will be fun to take another look at.

This year we will be studying:
Q1: Endurance, Fellowship, Storms
Q2: Believe, But God, Grace
Q3: Humility, Moving On, Strength
Q4: Trust, Forgiveness, Praise


As always, each month’s Scripture Reading List and blank study pages will be available for anyone to download and use. As well as discussions, blogs and social media posts.

For 2020, we’ve also added our Inspired Subscriber program. Which offers a lot of additional material available only to our members.

In January, we will be leaning about Endurance. You can download the Scripture Reading List and blank study pages over on our Soul Inspired Page.

If you are an Inspired Subscriber, I want to show you how I will be using the materials, especially setting up my Soul Inspired Bible Study Notebook for 2020.

Here’s what you will need to get started:
  • Notebook
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Adhesive
  • Pen or marker
  • Access to a printer

Not an Inspired Subscriber yet? No worries, you can still download this Notebook Package that includes this Soul Inspired Bible Study notebook cover and Contents page.

After downloading the “2020 Endurance part1” file, the first thing I do is print off all of the pages. You can print this in color or in black and white, or just a few specific pages in color. That’s the great thing about a printable .pdf file, you have all the pages and can print them how best you like.

Here’s how I printed my Endurance Scripture Journal:
The Cover, Scripture Reading List and Scripture Art Print, was printed on a heavy cardstock paper.

Additionally, I wanted a copy of the Scripture Reading List and the Scripture Art to keep in my Bible, so I printed another color copy of each on 28# paper at 50%. This reduced their size to fit nicely in my Bible.


The remainder of the file, I printed in color, double sided on the same 28# paper. It is just a bit heavier than normal copy paper and is a nice weight to write on.

I printed the “Day Quick Study” pages twice so I would have 2 weeks of these study pages.


I’m sure I will be reprinting several of the blank study pages as the month goes along.

The bonus file 2020 Endurance Bonus, I printed out all 3 pages in color on the heavier card stock.

The notebook I am currently using does not have the pocket on the cover so I am keeping my “Soul Inspired Bible Study” cover page tucked inside my notebook until I can get another notebook.

I cut out the book mark and some of the tabs to use in setting up my study notebook.
The bookmark I will use to keep my place. And the tabs and flags I will use to mark important points. I’ve added one of the tabs to my Endurance title page to use as a divider page.

Remember, your notebook will be holding 12 months of soul inspiring study topics!


I’ve got my book all set up and ready to begin! I would love to see how you are using your study materials. Take a pic of your study notebooks and share with the rest of us online! Don’t forget to tag Sweet To The Soul and use the hashtag #SoulInspired or #InspiredSubscriber.


I look forward to learning all God has to teach us in the new year!

Blessings Soul Friends,

Note: Some products and pages featured in this blog post are only available through our Inspired Subscriber program. To learn more and sign up, visit Inspired Subscriber.

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on June 12th, 2018

I am always looking for creative inspiration to incorporate into my Bible Study, Journaling and Prayer time. Recently, I was at a Bible Journaling retreat with some new friends, and a lovely lady shared with me a colorful flip book she had made for her prayer time. 

​It was beautiful! And I loved that it was portable, she kept it in her Bible Journaling bag to use as she journaled. 

​So, of course, I invited Jill Martin to share her prayer flip book with all of you!

​The pictures below are of a special prayer flipbook she put together using the monthly Prayer Prompt Kelly Stanley created for Suzie Eller's Spirit-Led Heart book. We are using this same prayer calendar with this month's Scripture Reading List - Spirit Lead Me

​I've added some simple instructions below each photo. This is a great project to use up some of those random supplies in you stash! It also makes a great gift of encouragement to share with a friend. 

​If you're wanting to put together your own Prayer Flip Book but don't have the supplies, keep reading to the end, where you will find a printable of blank cards you can purchase and print at home and customize to create your own flip book. 
 
1. Select cards, tags (or cut scrapbook papers) of a similar size. Coordinate styles and colors or use a random selection. 
 
2. Punch a hole in each card at the same location. We punched the holes in the upper left corner of each card. If you want your flip book to open like an actual book, punch 2 to 3 holes along the left edge of each card. 
 
3. Hand write the scripture or prayer prompt for each day on an individual card. If your papers or cards are double sided, each side can be used for a separate day or you can add the prayer prompt on one side of the card, then write out your prayer on the back side of the card.

​In her flip book, ________ printed the Prayer Prompt Calendar and cut out each day's square from the calendar then attached it to a journaling card.
 
4. Get creative with each card. Decorate, draw, paint and embellish with ribbon, other papers, whatever you have on hand. 
 
5. Attach each card to a _____________ ring. Keep your prayer flip book close to your Bible to use during your study and prayer time. Or add a special note of encouragement and gift to a friend.
 

Resources

Enjoy these printable resources to use in creating your Spirit Lead Me Prayer flipbook.
 
Perpetual Prayer Prompt Calendar by Kelly Stanley
click here or on image to download

Printable Blank Journal Cards
click here or on image to purchase download

 
  
 
Today's #SoulInspired blog post is part of our Spirit Lead Me Scripture Reading Series.

 
​Jill Martin and I live in Pflugerville, Tx. I have been married 28 yrs to the love of my life, Dan Martin. I am a stay at home mom/house wife. I have two amazing children, who are at Texas A&M and will graduate next spring, and two fur babies. 

I am truly blessed and love to share and open my home to serve to Lord. I love to teach others how to develop a passion for creativity.   My greatest love is bible journaling. It helps me to connect to the scriptures in a way I never have before. 

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on March 29th, 2018

“O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.”  Isaiah 2:5

On today's blog the lovely Mitzi Neely is joining us with a great encouragement and devotional for when we are in the dark and longing for a light to shine. 

​We also have a FREE printable of today's devotional along with a template to create an art journaling entry in your Bible.
 
​When my daughter was little, she was afraid of the dark. Night after night I went through the motions of getting her ready for bed, prayed with her, and then tucked her into bed. Thinking we were all set for hours of deep slumber, the calm would last little more than five or ten minutes before I heard, ‘Mama. Mama, come here.’
 
There was always something for me to check out. Look under the bed she would say. Open the closet door so she could take one last look around. Leave the door cracked so she would know we were close by.
 
This mama sometimes felt her patience wearing thin.  My ability to take care of daily chores and prepare for the next day was getting some serious interference from the calls in the darkness.
 
Each time I was summoned to her room for one last ‘look-see,’ I knew what she really wanted was to prolong the inevitable--bedtime. It was the ‘being alone’ part, coupled with the dark of night that got her.
 
It didn’t matter how many times her dad and I reassured her, she just wanted there to be light.
 
And when you think about it, don’t we all?
In a dark place don’t we long to see a light shine?
 
One of my favorite quotes by Andy Andrews says, “If darkness is winning the battles, my friend, it is because the light is not doing its job.”
 
Keep reading and access your FREE downloads..... 






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