As of this last Friday, The Bible Quizzing Journey is officially THREE YEARS OLD!!!
I'm always super excited to hit these big milestones in my blog-writing, and content creating, because it reminds me to take a step back for a moment, and appreciate where I've come from - and where I still have to go.
Three years ago, on November 17th 2014, I had just finished the qualifying quiz to go to the St. Louis Top Ten Invitational. I had prepared really hard for this qualifying quiz, and I was over the moon about making the top ten! So what did I do? I decided to start to write a blog about this thing called quizzing, that I was so ecstatic about.... and the rest is history! :P
Throughout the past three years of writing this blog, I've learned things about writing, encouraging, mentoring, formatting, computers, and content creating in general. But I've especially been able to encourage myself, to keep trying to give Bible Quizzing my best effort, and to keep learning how to improve.
The first two years of writing this blog were good, don't get me wrong, but I'm especially thankful for this past year. A lot of change has taken place, not just in moving to Colorado, or in finding a totally new place in my quiz district and quiz team - but in myself, and in my relationship with God. I believe that all of this positive change has been a huge factor in me growing TBQJ.
I've gone from posting every once in a while - sometimes not for a month or two at a time - to planning a post every week, filming and releasing a vlog every other week, and sending out a newsletter on the opposite weeks, and making a resource library. I owe all of this creativity to God, because He is the author of inspiration!
I don't want to spend a lot more time on this section ('cause I know you're super bored by now :P), but I do want to make sure that you all know that I appreciate, so much, all of the awesome support and love you have responded with! Kind comments, either online or in person, really mean so much to me, and I love hearing that a piece of my writing has helped or inspired you.
Thank you, my wonderful, wonderful friends!
And with no further ado, let's get into the intro for today's post!!
Today's post, even though it is partly a celebration for the third-year anniversary, is also the first post in a new series! It's a lot like the series I had last season, "Favorite Parts of Luke"...
Today we are starting... Highlights of Corinthians!
In this series, I'm going to be periodically sharing with you, three verses or passages that stood out the most to me (overall, or in the time since the last Highlights post). I won't be going through - like last season - just chapter by chapter, or taking a part of the material in each post. Rather, I'm going to simply take all of the material into thought, and choose three highlights I haven't mentioned before.
So lets do it!
Number One: 1 Corinthians 8:1-3
In these verses, Paul says, "We all possess knowledge, but knowledge puffs up while love builds up", and "whoever loves God is known by God". And I'm going to tell you what I really love about that first phrase, first.
"Knowledge puffs up while love builds up". That sounds an awful lot like the saying, "they don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care" - and it's so true!
The world today doesn't need a bunch (more) of condemnatory preachers, or self-righteous, even well-meaning, Christians yelling at them for them to repent of their sins. The world needs to know the love of God, and that there is redemption for them, and that there is forgiveness just waiting to be accepted by them, from their loving Heavenly Father.
Knowledge about God and about His word won't profit the world anything, if we don't have love, because it's love that catches people's attention. If we start with accusations right off the bat, pressuring them to accept Christ as soon as possible - because He could come any second - then they'll get on the defensive immediately, and their hearts will be further hardened towards the truth.
Instead, this verse and many others, tell us that we should just be Jesus to people.
We aren't called to make converts, or to "win souls for Christ".
We're called to love the unlovely. Amen?
Number Two: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
I LOVE THIS PASSAGE SO MUCH!!
To be real, I love pretty much every passage of scripture that paints such an awesome picture of how our God has called us to live. "Run in such a way as to win the prize". Oh that just gives me chills!
God is not a God who calls people to follow Him, and then abandons them without another glance or word, or instruction - He's a God who tells us exactly how we can get the most out of this life; How we can live it to the absolute fullest!
Our calling, while we're on this earth, is partly to become as much like Christ outwardly, as we are inwardly. Our Spirits, according to Ephesians 1, are completely sealed - that means that that 1/3 of you is 100% Holy Ghost. One third of you is one hundred percent the Spirit of God.
Because of that, and because God loves us so much as His beloved children, He has called us to not give in to what is easy, but to work towards what is hard, so that we may manifest the truest beauty of our best selves.
That means letting God teach us about self-discipline (as it is the title of this passage :P). We go into "strict training", just like those competing in the games, so that we will be able to run in such a way as to win the prize.
We train as soldiers of the Powerful, Loving, Living and Almighty God, because we don't want to walk through our lives aimlessly! Each and every one of us has been entrusted with an imperative role to play in this world, because there is a fight, right now, waged between good and evil. You are an important instrument of God, to bring evil to it's knees once and for all, and obliterate it from the universe and beyond.
So you see, we have a responsibility to all of the people whose lives we are each going to transform through the love and power of our Father, to learn this self-discipline, and train - as hard as we can - to run our race, and win first place.
I don't want to waste my life.
I don't want to reach the end of my days here on earth, and not be able to say that I ran as hard as I could for my God who loves me so much, and who has given me life.
Rather, as Paul says, I would like this to be our war cry: "I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air."
I believe in you, God believes in you - what can stand in your way?
Number Three: 1 Corinthians 13 (all of it, pretty much :P)
This chapter, strategically placed between chapters 12 and 14, is absolutely incredible. Yeah yeah, people talk about this chapter a lot, and it's easy to just skim over it because of that, right?
Throw all of that nonsense out.
I would like you to, if you haven't already, look at this passage with a fresh pair of eyes. Don't look at it through the lens of it being a popular, "over-used" part of God's Word.
Rather, try to look at it as if you had never heard of it, or heart it, before. Let God speak His own message, His own view point to you.
I'm not saying that all of the "generic" things people say about this chapter is wrong, but it's been chewed up so much that we can't really seem to get a lot of nutrients out of it for ourselves when we're only eating from other people's revelations. God has a revelation specifically, and exclusively for you, because you're the only person who can understand it, and hear Him, like you do.
So, looking at this passage with a fresh, original pair of eyes, what do you see?
I saw God's name replace the word "love", everywhere in the chapter, because my sister off-handedly mentioned it when she saw me studying it. We can do this because in 1 John, it literally says that God IS love.
It's really cool when you read it through, replacing the word "love", with "God"!
"God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boats, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking..." etc, etc...
I've spent a fraction of the time that I would like to, just meditating and thinking over each of these statements. If you ever hear or experience something that claims to be God, but fails to meet ANY ONE of these requirements, you have the right to rebuke it and push it out of the way and out of your mind, because I promise you it's not God.
God's Word is perfect, and if it says that God is love, then love is God, and nothing can ever change that, amen?
(Don't forget to ask God what special, personal, specific revelation and understanding He would like to give you, His wonderfully made and loved child, from this chapter!)
That's all for today, wonderful people!
If you'd like to find out a little bit more about me and this blog, you can head over to our (newly revamped) about me page, "Start Here", for more information and some fun pics!
Also, I would like to remind you of our Newsletter, that goes out every other Sunday afternoon - for more info on that, you can head over to our Newsletter page :).
Man, I love you guys so much, and God is absolutely enthralled with you - I hope you know just how much He loves you this week. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving week and weekend, and I'll see you on Saturday for the TBQJ Vlog, Episode 8, and back here again on Monday, for another post ;).
Never forget... We, the Quiz-Journeyers, quiz and live victoriously!
Keep calm and quiz on (and out)!
Your fellow quizzer,
How are you guys? I'm super sorry about the post delay! But congratulations to everybody on how the St. Louis Tournament went! I was disappointed I didn't get to go this year, but I had a good weekend anyway; got to invest in some younger people, and I had a few brownies, so you know... it was good :P
I know from experience it can be really easy to get discouraged, if your performance wasn't what you would have hoped. But if you want to dodge a wave of sadness, just remember that we all have off days, even the best of us. One quiz or tournament doesn't define the rest of the season; make it your business to make the best comeback ever! Bounce back from that set back, and kill it like only you can. You are more than capable, and you are going to acheive your goal!
We're coming into the Christmas season now, and everyone's watching all those old movies, putting up decorations, and getting some shopping done whilst making travel plans. It is, admittedly, probably one of the busiest times of the year.
And it is about this time, that new and old quizzers have less motivation than any other time of the season. That doesn't mean that we can feel good about ourselves slacking off during these few weeks (:P); it means that we have to make it a priority to keep ourselves on fire throughout all of the festivities whilst still enjoying the holiday.
There's lots of different ways to do this of course, and I'm sure that as quizzers, you've begun to really discover what works best for you in that area. But one thing, I'm becoming more and more won over to, is that when we choose to rest in God's presence, and keep our focus on His love and goodness, everything we need simply comes as a byproduct - you know?
I mean, last year in Galatians, we quizzed over the fuits of the Spirit. And as we all know, fruit is the byproduct of a tree, that is growing in health, maturing, and thriving in what it was origionally created to do - its same thing with us. How many of us know, that real and long-lasting inspiration has to come from joy, peace, and patience having a permanant place in our hearts?
Now, I want you to know that I'm a long way from where I want to be. I've had a rough week or two battling to keep myself working at these things, and I've had lots of failures. But I can say, that I've learned a really hard lesson about trying to find a reason to do my best, and looking no farther than myself. And even though I haven't arrived, I think I've finally realized what God's been trying to tell me - where I need to be heading; and that's just towards Him.
This time of year is all about family, Christmas carols, hot chocolate, celebrating Jesus' birth, and loving eachother - its reaslly easy to get inspired! I look forward to this all year round! But, there's only so much that this can do for us in life as a whole. Getting into our Father's word, and being washed, renewed each morning, and transformed by it, is the single greatest thing that we can do, to be continually inspired and motivated, and to prepare for our futures - and it lasts all year, not just in December.
Oh hey, that kinda sounds like what we're doing each year! Quizzers commit to really digging into a different part of the Bible each season, and that's amazing when you think about it, considering the world today. So you see, getting inspired or motivated, or whatever you call it, to get into quizzing and do some preparing for the competitions, can come from what we're quizzing over - the Word.
It makes me laugh; only God could design something so simple.
A lot of people, including myself, have missed this vital aspect of being a quizzer. These are some of the things I've learned so far, about being inspired by the Bible - inside and outside of quizzing.
I guess it all just comes back to purpose. Why are we working so hard? Why do we go through all of the trouble to practice, travel, and spend free time studying rather than playing video games, or reading novels? It's because we teens, are choosing to set our focus, no matter what amount, on God and His word; His kingdom rather than on this world. He says to seek Him, and no better way to do that, than reading His love letter to us.
If we're seeking our Father, and trying to keep our minds on Him and His words, inspiration can and will come as a byproduct - that's not me, saying that this is what I've done and what you should do, that would make me the world's biggest hypocrite ever. This is me repeating and applying what God's promised us, and I encourage you to study out this subject for yourselves, it'll bring you a lot of joy.
So, to wrap up, as quizzers and teens we should feel proud of this "hobby" that we've taken on, no matter how frustrating, or discouraging it might feel sometimes. As friends, I wish you all a very happy holiday season, and I hope that you all have an awesome time, surrounded by your friends and family. And finaly, as siblings in God's household, keep running your race!
Thanks for reading, y'all!
Keep calm, and quiz on (and out)!
Your fellow quizzer,
The picture for this post, if you can't tell, is at Garden of The Gods, here in Colorado Springs! It was my second time going hiking there, when this was taken, and man, it is breathtaking! Super, super cool stuff up here, that are just a little different from Texas scenery :P
Today marks two years of my writing this blog! I'm quite embarrassed about some of my old posts (and should probably go fix some things about them...) but I'm glad that my writing has gotten slightly better since then :P Keeping this page, even though I tend to procrastinate posting occasionally, has really helped motivate me along my quizzing journey, and it's been a fun hobby.
But most of all, if I've helped anyone even a little bit, then that makes everything more than worth it! When I started out, I really had no idea what the heck I was doing (and I'm still trying to figure it out :P), and it was hard to write to an audience I wasn't sure was there. Now, two years later, my traffic is still quite modest, but I learned the lesson of writing what I might need to hear, rather than trying to define what my audience might.
So, all in all, I'm exceedingly glad that I woke up that day after our local qualifier for Top Ten, and decided to give it a go. It's been a great part of life to be able to share things I'm learning with you guys!
Anyway, enough sappy stuff, lets get on to the exciting part! I apologize for this taking so long, but at long last I have the downloads for the Learn Luke events and memorizing schedule, and the calendar. Unfortunately, these only cover through this year, and end at January first, because of the unknown material to be covered at the Bethany Invitational at the end of that month. But in general, seven verses a day/five days a week or vice versa should be a good rule of thumb for memorizing outside of the schedule.
I hope you all have a fantastic break and thanksgiving next week, and wish you good luck at the Top Ten quiz in December!
Thank you all for reading, and keep calm and quiz on (and out)!
Your fellow quizzer,
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Mallory is a sixth-year Teen Bible Quizzer originally from the Southern region, and now in the Northwest, quizzing over the book of John with her three younger siblings. <3
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