Bible Review | Time for Deep Study!

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Thanks to the generosity of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I am back with another Bible review. This time–the King James Version (KJV) Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, published by Zondervan 2022). The Bible is packed with delicious features for those who love intense, cerebral Bible study sessions. Though the Bible can be studied straight through from Genesis to Revelation, the chain-reference Bible demands more from us.

The 2000(+)-page Bible features more than 8000 topical listings in its alphabetical index and more than 100,000 marginal references. More than 4000 topics are systematically organized in chains “enabling the student to follow the prominent texts of a topic from the beginning of the Bible to the end. Many of these topics are subdivided, allowing for even more detailed analysis.”

This is the definitive study Bible, allowing Bible students and scholars to delve deeply into scripture through topical, thematic, chapter, and book studies as well as thorough examination of particular passages, biblical characters, and verses. 

The Bible features:

  • Complete text of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible
  • Easy-to-understand chain-reference system with over 100,000 references
  • Alphabetical and numerical indexes [that] highlight study materials for over 8,000 topics, each with its own topic number, for exhaustive topical study
  • An outline of the Bible
  • Bible study methods
  • An extensive study resource section [that] includes:
    • Bible character studies
    • illustrated studies of the Bible
    • a KJV concordance
    • Bible harmonies
    • A section on Hebrew times, Seasons, and Festivals
  • Two-color page design
  • Introductions for each of the 66 books of the Bible
  • 16-page full-color map section with map index
  • Words of Jesus in red

The Bible is printed in the KJV comfort print typeface. Since there is little marginal space, the two-color design goes a long way to break of the text-heavy pages and give tired eyes like mine some relief.

I have only had a few days to explore the KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, but I am pleased with what I have seen thus far. I am not going to pull this Bible out when I want to journal scripture or make copious notations in the margins. This one is for deep, long studies of scripture with my beautiful 300-page Bible study journal. 

I can’t wait to dig in at my leisure!

Of course, I received the Bible free from the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, but you can purchase the Bible here: Faith Gateway or here: Amazon.

If you want more information on how the KJV Thompson Chain-Reference Bible works, check out this short video on YouTube:

Welcoming 2023: Seven Tips for Beating Winter Sorrow

Winter Trees

I’m baaaaaaccccckkkk! 

So, 2023?

Here we are and I can’t say that I am feeling all the “new newness” of the year. I want to. I am trying to, but I can’t seem to get my head in the game. In fact, I spent the first days of the year “in a funk,” as my mom and baby sister would say. A million things to do. Too many ideas floating around in my head. “Goings on” I would normally be excited about. I just could not get myself motivated to do anything. 

I blame “wintercearig”–winter sorrow–a feeling of downheartedness or despondency caused by or as desolate as the depths of winter. You can read all about the Anglo-Saxon word on the Haggard Hawks blog. Wintercearig perfectly captures the impact of the winter season. 

I don’t think I suffer from “seasonal affective disorder,” but December brought two or three weeks (straight) of dreary, rainy weather followed by insanely cold temperatures.

Temp Dec

Actual temperature two days before Christmas–and I had done very little preparation. 

Considering this is the South, it was downright disrespectful. It seemed everyone’s spirits suffered. My own bones were so steeped in “winter sorrow” that I had to fake my way through the holidays. 

When I was facing the return to work last week, I struggled. I literally begged God to lift my spirits. I had things to do, after all!

An agonizing day later, my Bible study took me to Philippians 3:13-14:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Even though the verses have different meanings, I stalled at the phrase “press on” and accepted the Divine instruction to press. As much as I would have loved to lie on the sofa under a comfy throw and binge-watch “whatever,” I was well aware of the reality:

We have responsibilities that we cannot ignore and we can’t always “lie down” and succumb to our feelings. Sometimes, we have to “press on” no matter what. So, I sat down and scribbled some ideas in my journal to help get me through the day–ideas for “pressing” on when we lack motivation, when we’re weary, and when we’re simply “in a funk.” 

  1. First things first: Get up and move. Do something. Walk. Run. Dance. Clean your house. Chop some wood. Just move. Don’t allow yourself to sit and wallow.
  2. If you’re anything like me, when you don’t feel like doing anything, staring at a long list of tasks to be completed is enough to send you into a state of depression. Sometimes, you have to place the lengthy list in a drawer and make a new list of the absolutely must-dos and hit that list hard and fast—one by one. Task by task is key to not overwhelming yourself and running in the opposite direction. Pro tip: When you’re “in a funk,” even the smallest task, expectation, or obligation can feel impossible, so pray your way through every movement and remind yourself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 
  3. Make a piping hot cup of tea and sip slowly while listening to some cool jazz or your favorite music. Yes, tea is the answer to almost everything. 😉

  4. And while we’re on the subject of music. Create a playlist of your upbeat favs and sing along loudly and off key. There’s nothing like giving your abdominals a good workout to improve mood. I’m sure there’s some physiological explanation for that, but I’ll let the music therapists address the topic.

  5. Do something bright and colorful! Throw paint around. Play with stickers. Write a cheerful ditty or postcard. Do something that brings out your inner creative or inner child.

  6. Dial a friend. A funny one. One who is lighthearted and free and who will not allow you to remain in the doldrums.

  7. Plan a reward for yourself—a nap (my favorite reward), a new book, a pretty pen—something you can enjoy when you break free of your “downward” mood.

These all work for me, but what do you do when faced with all the icky, sluggish feelings that descend from time to time? Share in the comments.

Until next time…

May 2023 be good to thee. 😉

Such Is Life…

Fractal Deep Purple and Black

I woke up a week or so ago and typed the following note in my e-journal. I’d intended to flesh it out and clean it up, but sometimes, we need it straight. Even though it takes the shape of a poem, it is not a poem. Then again, maybe, it is. It is sad (perhaps?) and hopeful at the same time, but eh, such is life and the paradoxical state in which we all operate.

Life is hard.

Like really, really hard.

Achingly so at times.
Crippling even.

We must understand that.
We must get it through our thick skulls no one has it easy,
no matter how it looks on the outside.

There is no “life should not be this way.”
It is all life.

The sooner we get there in our thinking,
the sooner we will get to the part where we accept
“life” is always happening
and learn to find joy in spite of our circumstances.

The sooner we climb out of the oppressive pits of self-pity and despair
the sooner we begin to live,
and the sooner we will get to the part where we dance in the rain
and stand tall when everything around is crumbling.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  —John 16:33

Eternity Now: A “Comfortable” Approach to the New Testament

eternity now

Are you a Bible reader? I love the many translations of the Holy Writ and the many different approaches to scripture available. Thomas Nelson’s latest presentation has just been placed on my favorites list. 

The NET Eternity Now New Testament Series is a wonderful little collection of books which feature the New Testament presented in a unique way. Instead of book, chapter, and verse, the series presents the books of the Bible in “story form,” like paperback novels—with paragraphs and chapters and written in a style that appeals to the most readers. 

The series is divided into five paperbacks of about 80-200 pages each. This means, instead of lugging a 2000-page volume in your purse, you can tuck one small volume into your purse, backpack, or even a medium-sized pocket! If you want to carry them all at once, they’re not as heavy or as cumbersome as a traditional study Bible. 

  • The five-volume series “lets you see how eternity has broken into the here and now.” Readers can “read the history-shaping story of how Jesus Christ changed the world and what it means for [them]. It’s the no-frills, unvarnished Word of God, presented in an easy to read style and format.” –from the slipcover

Oh, and here’s the part I love: Instead of reading the 27 books of the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation, the Eternity Now set is organized by the themes listed below (descriptions adapted from the back covers of each volume).

  • The Legacy: Includes four New Testament books—Matthew, Hebrews, James, and Jude, all written from the perspective of Jesus’ own community and family.
  • No Going Back: Includes three New Testament books—Mark, 1 and 2 Peter. From these you get a fast-paced and passionate account of Jesus’ ministry and the effect it had on his most prominent disciple.
  • Grand Tour: Includes two New Testament books—Luke and Acts. Read together, these books illustrate the healing mission of Christ from prophecy through ascension and how the life-altering good news began to spread worldwide.
  • Death to Life: Includes 12 New Testament books written by Paul—Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.
  • Now But Not Yet: Includes the five New Testament books written by the apostle John—John, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Revelation. John unveils who Jesus really is, how a life can be transformed, and how we are connected together for a glorious future. 

The set is written in the easy New English Translation (NET), which is not [in my opinion] as elegant as the King James English but is beautiful nonetheless and certainly more accessible to those who are not comfortable with reading like Shakespeare characters. 😉

For someone, like me, who loves reading the Bible as literature (as well as a sacred text) this is a wonderful little set. For those who are uncomfortable with traditional scripture formats, this little set is perfect!


Note: I received a complimentary copy of the NET Eternity Now New Testament Series as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. If you’d like to purchase your own set, you can find it at the Faith Gateway Store or at Amazon.

Timeless Wisdom for Life

Whatever is true

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8 NIV


About the Image: The doodle art above was created for Day 16 of Sheila D’s 30-Day Creative Gathering last September. I’ve committed to joining again, but have not settled on a topic or an approach yet. Hopefully, I’ll know by the time I wake up in the morning! If you’re interested in being part of the community click here > 30-Day Creative Gathering. The supportive group welcomes traditional and nontraditional forms of art.

Postcards that Make a Statement | Clothe Yourself

“Clothe Yourself” by Becky

Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. —Colossians 3:12


Who Sent It? This is another postcard that has been sitting on my “to be blogged” list for far too long. It is a collage postcard made by BeckyG56, a swapper in the “Christian Friends” group on swap-bot. It  was sent seven years ago with a note from Becky sharing that she is trying to put on the qualities of Christ and live this verse. Me too, Becky. Me too.

Sunny Blossoms | The Ultimate Kindness

“Kindness” by Martha S.

Today’s Kindness blossom came from my pen friend, Martha S. She painted the sunflower [with a nod to the Ukraine] for International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month. It was refreshing to see a card that simply reminded us of kindness. 

If we think about it, it all comes down to that. Doesn’t it? If we were more compassionate and thought as highly of others as we think of ourselves, women’s rights wouldn’t need to be a thing!

I know that sounds simplistic. Social structures/constructions are complex, and for some reason, humans have an almost innate suspicion of those who are not like them; furthermore, in many cultures, men have been conditioned to see women as inferior to them. These attitudes seem to be at the root of all unkindness—even in our “smaller” interpersonal interactions.

I wish I could pinpoint the moment where [some] men decided that women were inferior to men. Some point to Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden or Scripture in general, but the argument is not supported in Scripture. What Scripture does uphold is that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); we are part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9); and God desires an abundant life for all of us (John 10:10b). And, the best part–His mercy, grace, and salvation are available to all!

That is the ultimate kindness. 

Sorrow | The Butterfly [Tattoo] Effect

Butterfly-3 wm

I have been fixated on butterflies most of the week, reworking butterfly photos into watercolor photo art. I didn’t realize why until, while scrolling through my camera roll Thursday evening, I came across a picture of my son and parents that was snapped last summer. In the picture, I could clearly see most of my father’s butterfly tattoo. 

Ah! That explains it!

In addition to the intangible qualities and gifts, there are certain tangible items that I associate with my father. Among them are his ruby ring, his hearing aid, his jazz collection, and his butterfly tattoo. Only one of those was buried with him, and I was miserably grieved that I had never managed to intentionally photograph the tattoo while he was living–neither had my photographer brother nor any of the other photographers in the family!

The tattoo was simply a part of my father; he had gotten it when he served in the United States Air Force. It had been there all our lives—so we never thought about taking a snapshot. Until he was gone. I combed through image after image and could see parts of the tattoo, but never enough of it. Furthermore, the quality was diminished in attempting to enlarge any photo enough to really see the tattoo. Failing to capture the tattoo troubled me for weeks after his passing, till I finally convinced myself to let it go. I did so grudgingly and with the hope of eventually finding someone who had a good shot of that tat. 

I don’t know how I’d missed it in the photo referenced above! I think it was waiting to be found when I needed it most. With my father’s birthday approaching [today], I guess, the butterflies settled into my spirit and provided a way for me to connect with my father’s memory that was soothing for my soul.

Daddy Butterfly Tattoo wm

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

Sorrow | Lessons from Grief

Butterfly-2 wmLoss and grief are inevitable parts of life. We know this, but that doesn’t make it easier to manage. In fact, the inevitable is often a source of anxiety for some. Despite how ab-so-lute-ly awful it is, grief teaches us many lessons about life, love, and ourselves. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned.

  1. Love is more powerful than we can ever find words for or even imagine. We continue loving long after the person is gone.
  2. Grief is a journey for one. Others may grieve the loss of the same person, but not the same loss. Every loss is personal and the journey to healing individual.
  3. There is no “getting over” a loss, but eventually the wound will heal. As with all wounds, there will be scars.
  4. Grief stays with us. It morphs and shape-shifts until it settles into our beings.
  5. Eventually, we learn to live with grief, but our hearts may never stop aching.
  6. The gaping, person-sized hole inside never gets filled. We miss the person for the rest of our days on earth, but mingled with the pain will be fond memories and laughter.
  7. It is important that we find space to express ourselves and talk about our loved ones.
  8. We should never apologize for grieving, even if it makes others uncomfortable.
  9. The Divine draws closer to us when we grieve (Psalm 34:18).
  10. We learn how to sit in the dark and still believe in Light.

What lessons have you learned from grief?