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July 10, 2013
Light for My Path
The Gift that Changed My Life
by Kathryn Grant

One year for Christmas, my dear friend Terri gave me a present. Before I unwrapped it, she explained that the Lord had guided her specifically to get this gift for me. Terri is an amazing woman who seeks with all her heart to live in harmony with the Lord's will, so I took her comment seriously.

Her gift was a devotional set by Nancy Leigh DeMoss that contained an inspirational book called A Place of Quiet Rest, along with a beautiful journal. The book focuses on the blessings of daily devotional time with the Lord, with an emphasis on drawing closer to Him through scripture study.

"Have you ever had the experience," Nancy asks, "of reading a portion of Scripture, only to stop and realize that you have absolutely no idea what you just read? This has happened to me more times than I care to admit." She goes on to share a simple, practical tip for making scripture study more meaningful: Write as you read.

She explains, "As I write down what God is saying to my heart through His Word, the words are lifted off the page and become full of meaning and life to me." (She also reminds readers that this process doesn't have to be difficult or complex. It's not a matter of writing something polished or perfect, but something that is helpful to you.)

One approach Nancy recommends is to write two sentences for each chapter you read: one sentence to summarize the chapter, and another to summarize how the chapter spoke to you. Even this simple exercise can make scripture study more meaningful, and you'll probably find, as I have, that it's hard to stop at just two sentences.

For a more comprehensive approach, Nancy recommends writing your thoughts in three areas:

1. Observations: What is this passage saying?

2. Interpretations: What does it mean?

3. Applications: How can I apply it in my life?

Like many of you, I love the scriptures and have read them regularly for much of my life. But I was amazed at how this approach made my scripture study more meaningful. In the process, I noticed the following benefits:

This morning I noticed a connection I'd not made explicitly before. I'm reading 1 Nephi 11 where Nephi sees the vision of the tree of life. We learn that the iron rod symbolizes the word of God, and the tree of life symbolizes the love of God. Well, the iron rod leads to the tree -- which means, the scriptures lead to the love of God. Despite reading this chapter multiple times, I'd never formulated that specific understanding from the vision before. This just goes to show how helpful it is to read the scriptures over and over again.

In addition to enjoying scripture study more, I am learning so much more and making a more focused effort to apply scriptural insights and teachings to my life. I remember the scriptures better and they come to mind when I need them. It's not an exaggeration to say that this practice, learned from a friend's inspired gift, has changed my life. I suspect it will do the same for anyone who tries it.

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