28 February 2014

Drugstore Dupe for Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion

Dear Lissy,

I've been using Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizer since high school.  I've looked for a less expensive and more available alternative to Clinique Dramatically Different for years.  I finally gave up, because I was spending more buying "I hope this will work" lotion than I was shelling out for the Clinique.  But (insert drumroll) I finally found it:  CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. 

 I could'nt tell the difference after putting DD moisturizer on one side of my face and CeraVe on the other for a week.  After 3 months of constant use, I've seen no difference in my skin at all.  We've had one of the coldest, dryest winters on record for our area of the country, so that's saying something.  CeraVe is about a tenth of the cost of Clinique moisturizer, and available locally at Wal-Mart. There's even a Wal-Mart Equate brand version if I'm really strapped for cash.  

I don't know if you'll fall in love with Clinique products the way I did, but when your budget calls for a break, this lotion is a great alternative!



P.S. for those reading along:  I have fair, dry, sensitive skin that flares red and itches or burns with most products.  Lissy has had issues with keratosis pilaris since birth, and this lotion was recommended by her dermatologist to address that issue.  I have no idea if this lotion would be as effective on sturdier,oilier skin.

26 February 2014

Sweet Potato Rolls

Dear Lissy,

These rolls are the rolls.  Six continents.  Every Thanksgiving dinner this century.  Sweet Potato rolls are a bit tricky to get just right, but oh, when I do, I'm in butter roll heaven.  Try them out a couple of times at home --  they make great slider rolls for pulled pork and unbelievable pecan cinnamon rolls.  Once you're used to the dough, quietly bring them any time you attend a dinner.  These unassuming little pillows of golden deliciousness will soon become your signature dish, too.

Sweet Potato Rolls

1 pkg.(2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast   
1-1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  Stir in:

1/3 cup sugar (optional, used to make rolls very soft and keep crust from forming)
1-1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening, melted
2 eggs
1 cup lukewarm mashed sweet potatoes or yams
3-1/2 cups flour

Add an additional
3-1/2 to 4 cups flour
until the dough is just firm enough to handle.

Turn the dough onto a wet counter or board and knead with wet hands or dough scraper until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Re-wet board or hands as necessary.  Don't try to flour the board or your hands, or the rolls get very tough.  Place in greased bowl, and turn until greased side is up.  **Refrigerate several hours or overnight.**
About 2-1/2 hours before baking, divide the roll dough in half.  On a floured board, roll each half into a 16" circle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread each circle with:
2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine (1/4 cup total)

Cut each circle into 16 equal wedges with a pizza wheel..  Beginning at the rounded edge, roll each triangle up.  Place on an insulated baking sheet with the point underneath.  Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.  Bake at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.



P.S.  Butterhorns are nice for formal occasions, but these rolls really shine when baked cushion-style.  I usually pan them up at 2.5 oz each, and place them a finger's width apart in the pans.  Let them rise until the dough has a spongy texture, and pop them into a hot oven.  The bottoms overbrown easily, so use a baking stone or keep them toward the top of the oven.

20 February 2014

Decorated Planner Pages

Dear Lissy,

 Here's a fun little no-pressure project for when you're itching to create:  decorate planner pages.  My only rule is "no purchases."  I have to use art and crafting items we already own. Most decorators are devoted to Filofax, but my favorite planner from Studio O is just as easy to mod.  I don't decorate every week...just when I'm feeling a little craft deprived.

My favorite 5 x 7" planners from Studio O Creations are available at BAM! bookstores.

Vertical week on two pages allows me to place my to-do list into timed slots.  My running to do list goes in the boxes on the bottom margin.  I place prayer requests or memos in the "Week in Review" slot.

The finished two-page spread.  I inked the sides of the pages with ice blue into spring green since we're transitioning from February to March next week.  I stamped in the same two colors, stamping first on scrap paper to keep the color faint.  A few punches, stickers, rub-on transfers, and pieces of washi completed the look.  I've started highlighting travel time around appointments so I don't plan that time for another purpose.

A closer look at the left hand page.   I like the look of inking cutouts and then putting a bit of washi tape behind themThe wrinkles drive me nuts -- one of the hazards of using your art!

Close-up of the right hand page.  I'm quite partial to my gecko punch :-)

The beautiful thing about planner decoration is that you can change up styles and materials every week.  I have dreams of Zendoodles, pencil sketches, fabric swatches & pattern tissue, postage stamps, and more.  It also makes the planner a lot more fun -- and likely -- to be used on a daily basis, too.  Whether you're rocking a Filofax or making do with a printable, have some fun with an otherwise mundane part of life.

Lovin' you,

P.S.  I'll try to update with a finished shot of these pages after they've been filled with to-do's and doodles.

09 February 2014

Bible Marking Tutorial Series: Beginner's Marking Challenge

Dear Lissy,

We've completed our Bible marking tutorial series, and now I want to offer a challenge to you:  make a single, focused trip through the Word looking for and marking just your chosen subject. Our great-greats used this method to prepare sermon series centuries ago.  R. A. Torrey first formally mentions it, and it was popular enough during his time that the Thompson Chain Bible was born.  21st century writers like Elizabeth George have endorsed this Bible reading method, too.   It may take as much as a year, but if you commit just one hour per day, at the speed you read it will take 2 months or less.  Really and truly!

1.  Purchase an inexpensive large print Bible.
  • You will only be using this Bible for a couple of months to a year, so it doesn't need to be high quality.
  • Keep an eye out at yard sales, thrift stores, and bookstore clearance sales and purchase large print Bibles in advance.  
2.  Set aside a crayon, colored pencil, or drylighter.  Tie it to the ribbon marker if you're prone to misplacing things.

3.  Choose a broad topic.
  • Women is a great Bible-wide topic with immediate importance.
  • Food, money, music or another area of our physical existence you want to learn more about.
  • Grace, holiness, mercy, or other Bible-wide themes
  • I'm doing a "why" Bible this year (2014).  I highlight in green every portion of Scripture that tells why God did something or why he gave a particular command.  It's a powerful study that reveals the character of God in a new way.  I'm also encouraging myself to consider and meditate on why God included the portion I read each day in His Word.
4.  Choose a reading plan.
  • I'm partial to Professor Horner's reading plan, but it requires a commitment of about an hour a day.  I'm an ornery rig, so I need to be in the Word several times a day to keep an eternal focus.  This plan is ideal for me.  
  • The Slacker's Bible reading plan is another awesome choice for a 20-30 minute commitment.  It is based on reading a portion from each section of the Bible on a different day.  It isn't intended to be completed in a year -- you just pick away on the part of the Bible for that day until you've read the whole thing. 
    • Sunday: The books of poetry
      Monday: The Pentateuch
      Tuesday: O.T. history
      Wednesday: O.T. history (There is a lot of it.)
      Thursday: O.T. prophets
      Friday: N.T. history
      Saturday: N.T. epistles
5.  As you read, mark your theme. 
  • Highlight any direct mentions of your theme. For our example, we'll use mercy/merciful.
  • Mark stories (vertical line down the margin) that demonstrate either the positive or negative aspect of your theme. How did God show Adam and Eve mercy?  Mark the verses that demonstrate God's mercy even though the word "mercy" doesn't appear.  When did God not show mercy and why?  Mark it!
  • If you have a meditation you don't want to forget, jot it in the margins.  *God may choose to show mercy to my children and descendents because of my relationship with Him.
  • When you reach a verse or story that deals with an area that you KNOW you'll want to come back to again and again, put an asterisk in the upper corner of the page where you can just flip through and find it.
  • If you are using the Prof. Horner or Slacker's and Shirker's plan, you'll want to put in cross references as one part of the Bible illuminates another part you've just read.
  • When you are all done, affix a label to the spine that indicates that Bible's theme and place it on your bookcase.  Take it out and refresh your mind on that topic occasionally by reading just the highlighted portions.
  • If you want to go all R. A. Torrey on this study, you'll need to open a file on your computer or grab a journal and write down what you're learning in an organized fashion.  At the end of the study, write up a summary.  This extra step would be ideal, but just the focused reading, highlighting, and review can be very powerful.
Focused reading is one of the simplest plans for making the Word a part of your daily life.  The Bible takes on a new level of excitement when you're on a treasure hunt, but this method doesn't require any special study tools or Bible classes.  Your key word or idea will unlock a hundred secret nooks and crannies throughout the Bible and you'll love the Word as never before.


06 February 2014

Bible Marking Tutorial Series: Marking A Book Study

Dear Lissy,

We've spent the last three tutorials discussing pencil marks I make as I read, listen to, or pray God's Word.  Those are mostly spontaneous marks that keep my attention focused -- snapshots of my journey through the Word, if you will.  I want to transition today to purposeful, permanent marking for future use.  These marks are more like putting up trail markers.

After I've invested hundreds of hours into an inductive study of a book of the Bible, or listened carefully through months of a sermon series, what are some of the ways I expect to use that information again?
  • I expect the Holy Spirit to bring it to mind often as He conforms me into Christ's image.
  • I expect to use that material in discipleship and teaching, especially with my kids.
  • I expect to expand my ability to share the gospel effectively with others.
  • I expect the Holy Spirit to use the words and principles I've studied to speak words of encouragement and exhortation to other believers.
  • I expect the material I've studied in one book to unlock truths in other parts of the Bible.
  • I expect that material to deepen and enrich my relationship with Jesus Christ -- I should know more about the character and person of my God after a study than before.
  • I expect the Holy Spirit to use those now-familiar portions to enrich my prayer life.
  • I expect to be able to use the book I've studied to combat the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.
Now the big question for our tutorial series:  How do I mark my Bible so that
  1. I can remember and use this study without  having to constantly access my notes, AND
  2. Still leave the text clean and readable?  (Remember:  Less is More)
Short answer?  Color and Annotation 


Color is by far the most popular method for marking a Bible. Most people make up a key of a dozen or so colors with each standing for a Bible-wide theme:  God, Jesus, Sin, Prayer, etc.  They eagerly color any verse in one of their categories when they come across them in their reading.  While those are all important doctrines, I rarely use my Bible in that fashion.  I can't remember the last time I leafed through my Bible to review the doctrine of Sin.  I usually use resources from my library if I need to brush up on doctrine. 

Instead, I believe color works best within a book. Each of the following should be shaded in a separate color.  Make a key at the beginning or end of the book for future reference if desired, but you'll probably find that just having like items shaded the same color is enough of a trigger without making an official key.  Save red for later -- that's the one color I use through the whole Bible.

The Tools... 
  • Watercolor pencils lay down nice color and most colors erase completely.  
    • Test the color and erasability back in the concordance or a flyleaf before using on text.  
    • You may also want to test that color doesnt transfer onto the facing page by turning the page and rubbing your thumb over the highlighted area.  Play with the pencils a little until you are confident they'll work as expected.  Regular colored pencils have a waxy binder that makes it almost impossible to mark over the top of an area that's been highlighted.
    • Cheaper brands like General's (Walmart art section) or Crayola tend to work better in Bibles.  Higher quality brands have more pigment and stain or transfer more easily.  Prismacolor Col-Erase are a new favorite of mine.  Although not technically watercolor pencils, they aren't waxy.  They don't fully erase on most Bible paper.

  • Micron pens make permanent annotation easy.  Since I'm usually transferring a whole sermon series or inductive Bible study into my Bible at a single sitting, I can carefully place notes and marks so I don't need to erase.  Pencils also work fine, but using micron pens distinguish personal notes and marks from daily reading from study/preaching notes.  I prefer brown 03 tips, but use whatever color(s) and tip size suit you best.  Again, test these in the concordance or flyleaf for bleed and show through before you use them in the text.

Use color to...
  • Frame the key verse for the book, and place a key symbol beside it. I often disagree with my study Bible on which verse is the key verse.  If I've invested hundreds of hours into a book (or my pastor has), I choose the verse that brings the sermon series or study back to mind readily.
    Notice how framing the verse allows other words within the verse to still be marked.  I normally place the key in the line, but for photo purposes placed it in the margin.
  • Frame important verses that support the overall purpose and theme of the book. These verses typically either introduce or summarize major divisions within the book.  (Nails and goads in Ecclesiastes, Altars in Genesis, Hope in Titus)
  • Shade the key word/phrase every time it appears:  all in Colossians, joy in Philippians, under the sun in Ecclesiastes, for example.  Some books appear to have combination locks instead of keys, and you'll want to highlight 2 or 3 words; but try to find just one that you feel most embodies the spirit of the book.
Wow...that's it?  Yup.  These will each bring a great deal of the study back to mind, and annotation will take care of the rest.

Note:  If you live in a part of the world where colored pens or pencils are difficult to find or expensive, simply use a regular pencil to frame verses and box key words.  If you only use the box type markings for key verses and words, they'll still stand out.
Avoid the use of color for...
  • Every command, promise, exhortation, etc. 
  • Every occurrence of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit (ditto for place and people names)
  • Multiple key words:  Simply use a pencil to underline and number.
  • Every verse that would work well for soulwinning.
  • Bible-wide themes like anger or grace
  • Verses that deal with your own worst fights:  pride, anxiety, the tongue, etc. I put these on index cards and post them in the kitchen window above the sink or in the bathroom next to the mirror.
  • Inductive Bible study markings.
These are all great things to mark on Scripture worksheets or into your church notes, but your Bible will become so busy it's almost unreadable if you mark these all in your daily driver.


Annotation is adding notes to explain and clarify the text.  How much you use annotation will determine the type of Bible you use.  Many serious students use wide margin, journaling, or interleaved Bibles. Again, try to keep the text reasonably clear for future reading and study.  Use a symbol next to a word or verse (*,+,^, etc) to direct yourself to a note in the margin that begins with the same symbol if necessary.

Use annotation to mark...
  • Word definitions
  • Numbered lists, especially if they occur over several verses or even chapters.
  • Connecting verses or thoughts in different parts of the chapter or book.
  • Cross references.  I also cross reference to study binders or even books in my library, not just Bible passages.
  • Condensed statements of principle or truth.  
  • Explanations of difficult passages.
  • Diagrams 
  • Illustrations
  • Don't be afraid to use the large blank portions at the beginning and end of a book for introductory and summary notes.
Avoid annotation for...
  • Writing sermon notes directly into your Bible.  Most sermons can be annotated into the text in traditional ways that will be far more usable than having it in one chunk beside the text.
  • Journaling -- unless, of course, it's a journaling Bible.
    Here's a whole sermon (and some random color coding for good measure) in my college Bible.
Here's the same sermon, annotated and no random colors.  Notice that for long notes I used and asterisk or cross beside the text, and put the note in the bottom margin.  See how the text retains clarity & readability?
Remember how I mentioned at the beginning of this letter that I wanted to use my study for personal growth, discipleship, education, encouragement, exhortation, counselling, soulwinning, and combat?
The annotation needs to be such that when the Holy Spirit brings a passage to mind, I can instantly refresh my memory and understanding of that passage.  Very often I'll think or say something that instantly pulls me up short, and I think:  "Now, I remember hearing that in the Ecclesiastes series, but I can't remember just what was said..." and I flip back through to find it.  If I've written too much, I have a hard time finding anything.  Too little, and I'm forced back to my 1-1/2" ring binder of notes.  You'll find your own sweet spot as you study and then DO what you've learned.

Let's take a look at a page from my study Bible.  I was just starting to use a standard marking system when I was studying Titus, so I can show you why certain things don't work as well.
 What I did right here...
  • Key verse is boxed. 
  • Key word "good" is marked.
  • Small, neat lettering is easy to read and helps me remember my study.
  • Verse I use in gospel presentations is underscored in red, chained to the next logical verse, and there's a red edgemark in the margin so I can easily find it, even with my Bible closed.   That's another tutorial.
  • Text is still clear and readable.
  • Every mark on the page makes sense.  I don't have random colors or symbols cluttering the page.
What I've changed since...
  • I circled key words in red before completing my whole study.  Turns out there are two different Greek words translated "good" in Titus:  honorable and useful. I had to write which definition each word was above it.   If I had waited, I could have shaded each a different color or circled one and shaded the other.
  • I no longer use red except for soul winning, since I have the person I'm working with read the verse marked in red.
  • I wrote "Key Verse for Titus" in the margin using up valuable space.  I now draw a small key symbol in with the line and save the margins for notes.
  • I would now choose to put the meaning of the book title (Titus = "honorable") right at the beginning of the book.  Again, keep the margins clear and the text as readable as possible.
  • I used a very fine point gel pen that had been recommended by another Bible marking friend.  It shadowed and bled through my pages.  Micron pens are the gold standard for Bible marking right now.
In our next tutorial I'll show you how to create symbols that allow you to quickly and easily follow a theme through the Bible.   These may include verses and Bible stories that help you counsel a little one about whining and complaining, or verses on worry that will turn your own heart to prayer instead.   As you complete book studies, you'll want instant access to those verses.  It's tempting to simply shade them in a color:  purple for parenting or aqua for worry, but there's a neat way to mark these verses that makes them much easier to find at a moment's notice.


Bible Marking tutorial series starts here and continues here.

P.S.  Here's your first foray into Bible marking.  It got you into trouble, but I pray for you every time I run across one of your 2 year old scribbles.

05 February 2014

Bible Marking Tutorial Series: Marking for a Memorial

Dear Lissy,

We've covered some basic pencil marks in our last two tutorials, and today I'm heading into more familiar territory.  Almost everyone marks verses they like in some way.  Daddy often prepares homegoing funeral services for believers using their Bible.  He wants to share passages that were significant to them during their memorial.  Here's what he usually finds:
  • Verses they like or find beautiful.
  • Verses that promise, convict, encourage, or instruct.
  • Familiar verses, like the Beatitudes.
  • Verses they've memorized
  • Chapters they've read. 
Guess what?  I mark memorial verses, too, just not in anticipation of my homegoing service.  I use them as signposts of times and places God has shown Himself mighty on my behalf either through illumination or during prayer.
Illuminated verses
During times of physical or spiritual trials, the Holy Spirit often uses a particular verse or passage to minister to my heart.  This illumination always results in a change of heart and action that bring my life into a closer walk with Jesus.   I want to remember the strong hand of the Lord in a big way.  I choose to drylight these verses in fluorescent yellow and then frame them in hot pink drylighter. I may pencil the date and a few words in the margin to bring the event back to mind.   For someone who marks very conservatively, these verses are like tropical birds on the page.  They are memorials for me, a remembrance of what God has done in my life that I run across in my regular study and devotions.  And if they happen to show up at my homegoing service, that's ok, too.

"One of the best things for your spiritual welfare is to keep recounting the wonders God has done for you: record them in a book, mark the passage in your Bible and continually refer to it, keep it fresh in your mind." --Oswald Chambers, in The Place of Help

Date-significant passages
When I pray a verse for a particular person or situation, I jot down the date, the name, and a one or two word description next to the verse in my Bible. 
Example:  Next to Psalm 113:9, I penciled in 4/1997 Nate -- the date I found out I was pregnant with my first baby after suffering over three years of infertility and begging God for a child.  
Dozens of these dates and words pepper the margins of my Bible, just like they did my grandmother's.  Each time I read the Word, I remember God's faithfulness and lovingkindness on my behalf as I prayed.

Don't just mark for academic use in your Bible.  Choose memorials that you will come across time and again to remind yourself of God's goodness and work in your life.


The first tutorial starts here and the series continues here!

04 February 2014

Bible Marking Tutorial Series: Back to Basics, Pt. 2 - Simple Pencil Marks

Dear Lissy,

We're going to continue with pencil marks that draw attention to the text today.  After years of multi-coloring my Bible, I've learned which marks are valuable for future use, and which ones just obscure the text. 

Remember:   Marking less helps you remember more. 

In lesson 2 I'll cover:
  •  How to mark a whole verse.
  •  How to mark an entire passage.
  • A quick pencil trick so you can find a passage quickly without relying on a bookmark or dog-earing.
  • A neat idea for using the cross-references and helps to minimize marking.

Mark a whole verse either by framing the verse or circling just the number.  

  • Frame the key verse for a book.  An old-time preacher used to say the key was hidden under the front doormat or the back doormat.  You may also want to draw a small key symbol in the margin next to the frame.
  • Mark a verse that signals a transition.  Psalm 73:17 is a classic place to practice marking a transition verse for a chapter.
  • Mark a verse your pastor or trusted speaker encourages you to mark for future use.
Circled verse numbers

  • I'll cover how to mark verses used in personal work in a later tutorial, but the principle of framing is important.
  • Avoid framing topical verses:  we'll learn how to use symbols for those later.

Mark an entire passage by running a vertical line down the margin.

  • Mark prayers.  Few things will energize your prayer life like praying the Word of God.
  • Mark significant portions:  Armor of God, Virtuous Woman, Fruit of the Spirit, Beatitudes, etc.
  • Mark stories that illustrate a principle in another part of the Bible and cross-reference the two.
  • Mark songs:  add a little note symbol beside or within the line.

A vertical line marks a beloved Scripture song.

Mark a passage you refer to often with a 1/2" x 1" bar shaded right onto the edge of the page. 

A "book mark" that replaces dog-ears and sticky notes.
 I use edge marks to assist in soul-winning.
To make this mark, place a card or piece of scrap paper underneath the edge of the page, and shade heavily right out to the edge of the page.  Repeat on the other side.  Mark the reference beside the bar.

 To quickly find the note, simply look along the edge of the page where it is easily visible.  The metallic lines are bookdarts, my favorite bookmark.

Circle or underline information in the "helps" rather than trying to annotate it again yourself in the margin. 

Instead of writing in the Psalm and Proverb references, I simply underscored them.  I've since switched from pen to pencil, but the idea is the same.

I hope these simple pencil marks make sense. In our next tutorial we'll start using a little color, ok?

Lovin' you,

P.S. The Bible Marking Series starts here and continues here.

03 February 2014

Bible Marking Tutorial Series: Back to Basics, Part 1: Essentials

Dear Lissy,

Far and away the most popular letter I've ever written is the one on Bible marking.  It is also long and overwhelming.  I'm sharing the same principles again in this series of letters, choosing a tutorial format that will hopefully be more useful. My motivations for marking haven't changed, and are discussed at length in the original Bible marking article.

I know how much you love the idea of colored pens and pencils, and we'll use them a lot with inductive study worksheets.  I do use color in my Bible, but very sparingly and for a specific purpose.  We'll get to that tutorial a little later on.  Today I want to start with the basics.

The absolutely essential tools

  • A copy of the Bible.  This need not be expensive.  Some of my favorite Bibles to read and mark are hard covered pew Bibles.  The Bible program on my smartphone was a free app and features extensive marking tools.  

  • A pencil.  The beautiful thing about using a pencil is that you can grab any pencil anywhere in the world and it will be essentially the same color.   If you're annotating within a Bible app, pencil (or gray) is usually an option.

That's it.  Really.  That's all you need for marking your Bible effectively.  Simple really is better most of the time. 

The #1 Principle for Marking Scripture

Underline just a word or short phrase within the passage rather than highlighting the whole thing.

If I could teach just one principle of annotation, this would be it:  LESS IS MORE.  When you're reading along and a verse really speaks to you, stop and think.  What word(s) emphasize the aspect of that verse that the Holy Spirit illuminated?  You could just underline or highlight the whole verse, but chances are just a word or two will bring out the meaning that blessed, comforted, convicted, or challenged you.    

Marking less helps you remember more. 

Here are some different types of underlining to try.  Sometimes you'll need a couple of types to keep the markings distinct within a passage.
  • regular_____________
  • dotted ...........
  • dashed, _ _ _ _ _
  • bold (using the side of the pencil lead instead of the tip)
  • wavy, ~~~~~~~~~~
  • and double. =========
 In your mind, think of Psalm 23:1.  

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

Mentally highlight just a word or two at a time, and see how it brings out a different aspect of the truth as you meditate on that word. 
  • THE LORD -- not my experience, not my church, not my education -- THE LORD is the one who protects, feeds, cares for, and heals me. 
  • The Lord IS.  Not was, not will be, IS.  Right now.  No matter what is happening, it is under my Shepherd's watchful eye. 
  • The Lord is MY Shepherd.  He's not just the Shepherd of my church, or my parents, or just the pastors and missionaries.  He's MY Shepherd.  He's concerned about every aspect of my life and well-being. 
  • The Lord is my SHEPHERD.  Not my goatherder driving me with a stick.  Not my rider whipping me and spurring my sides.  Not my hunter.  Not the slaughterhouse worker.  My Shepherd.  He will lead, and tend, and care for me no matter what the cost to Himself.  He will protect me from myself when necessary, too, even if that causes me frustration or pain.
We could go on through this whole verse, but you get the point.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit is using one of these aspects to work on your heart today, and emphasizing just that one word will instantly bring that lesson back to your memory the next time you read the passage. Most pastors bring out the significance of just one or two words in a verse to drive a point home.  Get in the habit of keeping a pencil with you during preaching services.

Passages and Chapters 
Here are a few ideas for marking longer passages and chapters.  Many of the items I mark are a result of sitting under great preaching or through my own inductive Bible study.  I don't mark all of these in every chapter in my Bible -- I choose the one or two that bring out the truth.
  • Mark major divisions (In Hebrews 11, for example, marking "by faith _______" divides the chapter neatly into sections.)
  • Mark just the verbs.  Actions reveal character. (Proverbs 31:1-10, I Corinthians 13, and Hebrews 11 are all good candidates for this)
  • Underline each time the same word occurs in the original language in a distinct way. (Galatians 6:9-10 "season" and "opportunity" are the same word in Greek)
  • Underline repetitions in English:  "mind" or "minded" in Philippians 2.
  • Underline phrases that denote the motive or reasoning behind an action or command (they often begin with because, for, for this reason, that, so that, etc.) This will give you a glimpse into the heart of the person (or Person) doing the action or giving the command. 
    • Philippians 2:14 is a familiar verse to most parents:  "Do all things without murmurings and disputings"   But have you looked at the reason for this command in vs. 15-16 which starts out with the word "that?"
For whole book and Bible-wide studies I utilize colors and symbols.  I'll cover those techniques in another tutorial.
Many people reading along with these letters are in countries where colored pencils or highlighters are expensive or unavailable, so I'll share with you how to mark effectively with just a standard pencil.

Why wouldn't I choose to drag a highlighter over words instead of using a humble pencil?

Good question.  I want to preserve the simplicity and readability of the text as much as possible for future use.  Underlining these words in pencil will remind me of the study and meditation I did without making that the only thing I see every time I read that passage.  Color highlighting is used extensively on working copies during inductive study, but is best used sparingly and for very specific purposes in your daily driver Bible.

Underlining as you read, listen, and study God's Word is a habit that will help you apprehend the truths.  In my next tutorial we'll cover framing a verse, vertical lines, and other simple pencil marks that help reveal the truth in a portion of the Word.


Bible Marking Tutorial Series
Back to Basics, Pt. 1 - Essentials
Marking a Topical Study with Chain
  • Marking for Evangelism 
  • Marking for Counseling 
  • Marking for Teaching 
A Beginner's Marking Challenge
Marking for Professor Horner's Bible Reading System 

Linked up at Titus 2 Tuesdays #90