Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thank you to each of my precious friends who have taken this journey with me. It has been such a joy and a privilege to walk together in the discipline of scripture memory.
I am looking forward to our new challenge of reading through the Bible in 2010. I anticipate that the Lord will do great things!
Press on friends!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen"
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." [1 Peter 3:15]
NOTE: The word "reason" (also translated as "answer" in some versions) means "a ready defense." The Greek word apologia (from "apo" = "from" and "logos" = "word") is a legal term from the Greek court system referring to an attorney who defends his client's case. The discipline of "apologetics" refers to careful arguments in defense of the Christian faith. In short, Peter is telling his audience to know what they believe and be able to defend what they believe. This is an important charge to contemporary Christians who might be simply riding the coattails of their parent's, church's, or denominational faith.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Yesterday, a friend and I took some coats and winter clothes to a family of African refugees. It took us close to an hour to find their new home in Fort Worth. As the family of nine opened bags of jackets, sweaters, caps, etc., their faces lit up like it was Christmas morning. As we got ready to leave, I asked the mother "is there anything else you need right now?" She immediately motioned with her arms (she doesn't speak English) that her family needed blankets and pillows. "And socks!" one of the children spoke out.
When David got home last evening, but I told him of the need that my friends had...and that I couldn't go to bed tonight knowing that this precious family needed blankets. We ate a quick frozen pizza and headed to WalMart to get blankets and pillows and a some more warm coats.
I will never forget the squeals of glee as we handed each child a warm blanket to sleep with last night. And pillows! They were thrilled to have their own pillow! We sat in their small living room and sang African songs and I taught them an American game. Life is really so simple.
I take so much for granted....I think I will wait on those decorative pillows.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Let's take a different approach this week, OK? Let me tell you what I am striving to do. For each significant work I do for my own family, I want to do something equally as labor intensive and intentional for someone else. Let me share how that plays out in my life.
Our family will go to Mission Arlington on Thanksgiving morning to serve the needy. A friend's child will have surgery tomorrow and I will pray for and visit this family. Several of my friends answered the call to purge their closets of unused winter coats/clothes and we will share them with those who are lacking warm clothes.
Please understand me, I am not trying to "toot my own horn", but to challenge you, my sweet friends, to stop and think about what is really important this holiday season. Be intentional! Don't stress! Be"doers"of the Word.
How will you apply James 1:22 to your life this week?
Press on friends!
This summer, I read one of the best books I have read in a long time: The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, the CEO of World Vision. It changed my life.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. " [Hebrews 12:1]
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." [Hebrews 12:2]
NOTE: This is a classic verse worth recalling and holding close to our heart. Take time to look at and meditate on words like "hinders" and "entangles" and "perfecter". Remember that every word is inspired by God to teach us and instruct us.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Press on friends!
Friday, November 6, 2009
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" [Titus 2:11-12]
"..while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." [Titus 2:13-14]
NOTE: I encourage you to grab a commentary this week and to study the content and context of this whole chapter. Press on!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
As most of you know, my friend Kelly and I have been training to run a marathon on November 8th. We are down to the final two weeks of training. It has taken months of hard work, body aches, setbacks and just pure discipline. Many days I didn't even want to get out and run at all. We were hit with all sorts of hurdles along the way...sick kids, rain and more rain, sleepless nights and other physical ailments.
From the beginning, we asked the Lord to be in this effort. If He wasn't in this, we didn't want to be a part of it. Both individually and together, He affirmed our desire to run this great event and He has been at the center every since we started. We have spent our long runs with a list of prayer requests for close friends, the sick, the elderly, missionaries and many others. It has been an amazing privilege to lift His people up to him in prayer as we run. We truly feel like God has used our time running to draw us near to His throne room of grace.
This year, I also set another goal: To memorize a verse (or two) each week of the year, starting with the book of Genesis (hence, this blog). I have had the most amazing group of women take this challenge with me. We have named ourselves the "Memory Mommas."
While physical training and endurance is of great value, the reward we have from memorizing God's Word is eternal. We, too, are training ourselves....but for the purpose of godliness. This blog post is for you, my precious friends. We are close to the finish line! We have persevered. We have endured some setbacks. Some weeks have been easy and some much more challenging. I want to encourage you to FINISH WELL! Give it your best as you push toward the goal!
Press on dear friends! To God be the glory!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. " [I Timothy 6:6-7]
NOTE: we are skipping ahead to 1 Timothy in order to stay on course to finish with Revelation the last week in December.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." [I Thessalonians 5:16-18]
NOTE 1: The church at Thessalonica was, in many ways, a model church. Paul had many things to commend the believers for: their exemplary faith, diligent service, patient steadfastness, and overflowing joy. But in the midst of his commendation, Paul voices a word of caution. Abounding in the work of the Lord is only one step removed from abandoning the work of the Lord through complacency. Thus, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to excel in their faith, to increase in their love for one another, and to give thanks for all things. At the same time, to know Christ must always be their primary goal. In short, Paul encourages them to "stay on target" as they labor for the Lord. (Daily Walk Bible)
NOTE 2: Each of the five chapters of 1 Thessalonians ends with an exhortation based on the fact that Jesus is coming again. I encourage you to spend some time in these short chapters looking for these eschatological (end times) phrases.
This week's passage is not just a command to "be happy in all circumstances." Paul writes it with an "end-times" perspective. Put your hope in the fact that Christ is coming again! Do you believe that Christ is coming again? Do you behave as if Christ is coming again? Then, let all you do radiate that hope!
Press on friends!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. " [Philippians 4:6-7]
NOTE: This may be a familiar verse to you, but I encourage you to take it apart phrase by phrase this week and meditate on the richness of this passage. It is chock-full of powerful truths and commands for our spiritual life. Don't miss em!
Phrase 1: Do not be anxious
Phrase 2: about ANYTHING
Phrase 3: but in EVERYTHING
Phrase 4: by PRAYER and PETITION
Phrase 5: with THANKSGIVING
and so on....
Saturday, September 26, 2009
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." [Ephesians 2:8-9]
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." [Ephesians 2:10]
If you have never memorized this central verse of the spiritual life, you may want to start with verses 8 and 9. If you are familiar with this verse, challenge yourself to get verses 8 and 9 "word perfect" and add verse 10.
Press on friends!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I Corinthians 10:13 ("No temptation has seized you except what is common to man...")
As my day would have it, I was "ultra-scheduled" due to several meetings and other commitments. But, as GOD would have it, He redirected my steps. I was "interrupted" with a phone call from a friend whom I had not heard from in a while. Though I had been tempted to move on with my day and adhere strictly to my schedule, the Lord prompted me to stop what I was doing, to literally pull over, turn off my car and answer the "unknown number." It should come as no surprise that God showed up in that phone call. By my obedience to turn from temptation (the temptation to let the call go to voicemail and call back later), God blessed me.
Temptation comes in all forms. I am often tempted with the busyness of life...the seemingly urgent things on my calendar tend to override the still, quiet moments that the Lord would so graciously provide to meditate on His word and to fix truth firmly in my heart.
"..but when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." [I Corinthians 10:13]
Always be looking for your "way out." There is blessing in His provision!
Press on friends!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. [I Corinthians 10:13a]
"But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." [I Corinthians 10:13b]
Saturday, August 29, 2009
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." " [Romans 1:16-17]
Challenge: Memorize this straightforward and simple way to present the gospel:
1) PROBLEM: We are born sinners. (Romans 3:23)
2) CONSEQUENCE: The penalty of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
3) SOLUTION: Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
4) ACTION: We must respond in faith. (Romans 10:9-10)
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." [John 11:25-26]
Challenge: Memorize the seven "I am" statements of Jesus that are found in the book of John
...the bread of life (6:35)
...the light of the world (8:12)
...the sheep gate (10:7)
...the good shepherd (10:11)
...the resurrection and the life (11:25)
...the way, the truth and the life (14:6)
...the true vine (15:1)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
“I earnestly recommend that it be in the early morning, unless there are some extenuating circumstances. Entering the day without a serious meeting with God, over his Word and in prayer, is like entering the battle without tending to your weapons. The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep. The body does, but not the heart. We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God and prayer.”
Friday, July 31, 2009
"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." [Luke 2:52]
NOTE: This is a great verse to pray over your children. "Dear Lord, please enable (child's name) to grow in a deep understanding of who You are and to grow in physical health and strength. Give him/her the desire to live their life to glorify You in all they do and to be an example of Christ in their community and in the world."
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." [Mark 8:34-35]
Challenge: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (verse 36)
Saturday, July 25, 2009
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. " [Matthew 6:19-21]
NOTE: What was anticipated in the last book of the Old Testament (Malachi) now arrives in the first book of the New Testament (Matthew): the Messiah of God. He must come from the kingly line-and Jesus does. He must bear the name of royalty-and Jesus' name means "the Lord saves." He must be worthy of worship-and wise men from the east travel great distances to pay homage to him. He must be a light to the Gentiles, be announced by a forerunner, and demonstrate power over Satan, demons, disease, and death-and Jesus does all of this and more. The Messiah has come! [The Daily Walk Bible]
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
On our journey of scripture memory this year, I want our minds to sweat! I want us to push hard, to be diligent, and to stretch ourselves! Just as our body gets in better physical condition the more we exercise, so our minds and hearts will benefit from this "spiritual exercise".
Let me see you sweat!
Press on friends!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." [Malachi 3:10]
For further study, read this great article on tithing from pastor and author John Piper: Toward the Tithe and Beyond.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
"The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." [Habakkuk 3:19]
Deer use their back legs to navigate treacherous and difficult places. These hind feet make the deer surefooted and nimble. They are strong and secure!
Stop for just a minute and consider the promise and purpose this verse has for you. What challenges (heights) do you find yourself in today? What do you know about God or find in His Word that makes your feet like the feet of a deer---safe and secure?
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
David uses this verse all the time in his pre-marital counseling sessions. While "opposites attract", there are three areas that a couple must be aligned in order to walk together: family, faith and finances. When a couple has a disagreement in one or more of these areas, there is bound to be conflict.
To cultivate greater unity with your spouse, ask God to give you wisdom in how the two of you could grow together in one of these areas.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. " [Joel 2:28]
NOTE: The fulfillment of this prophesy is found in Acts 2:17 by Peter at Pentecost:
"Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: 'Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."'"(Acts 2:14-17)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
While each of the prophetic books is significant in it's own right, we find they all pretty much have the same basic ingredients: (1) warning of impending judgment because of the nations’ sinfulness; (2) a description of the sin; (3) a warning of the coming judgment; (4) a call for repentance; and/or (5) a promise of future deliverance.
The twelve books referred to as "minor prophets" are minor only in that they are each much shorter than the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel (called “major prophets”).
Ultimately, God’s purposes would be fulfilled by the sovereign work of God in the lives of His people.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. "
Note: Grammatically, these two sentences are a good picture of biblical parallelism. Mercy parallels acknowledgement (knowledge/knowing = a term of intimacy or relationship) of God and sacrifice parallels burnt offerings.
A loose translation might be: I am looking for life change that flows out of knowing God, not the mere practice of religious observances. Another way of thinking about it is that God is looking for relationship, not religion.
I found this great overview of Hosea. It is about 3 minutes long. Enjoy!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." [Daniel 12:3]
Daniel was written by . . . Daniel.
There are twelve chapters. The first six cover Daniel’s life and the last six cover visions he was given and the prophecies (predictions) they contained. The last half is apocalyptic literature--a type of writing that focuses on the End Times. Some other books with apocalyptic literature include Revelation, Zechariah, and parts of Ezekiel. Our verse for this week should be read in light of Jesus' Second Coming.
Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians when King Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem’s wisest men and most beautiful women back to Babylon. He was probably 16 or so at the time. Even though he was in a strange land with constant challenges to his faith, he remained steadfast in his loyalty to God.
Daniel contains some stories you may have heard many times (Daniel in the lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace). Chapter five contains the origin of the saying “the writing is on the wall.”
The most amazing thing about Daniel is the accuracy of the prophecies. Even most liberal scholars agree that Daniel accurately describes the reigns and activities of several empires covering several hundred years.
It is encouraging that God shows us through his Word that He knows everything that will happen. Psychics can’t predict what will happen next week, yet God predicted the specific course of many countries covering hundreds of years with 100% accuracy. This is one of the proofs showing the reliability of the Bible. No other Holy Book contains confirmed prophecies like this.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
See how easy that was!
Keep it up til it "sticks"!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
We plan on meeting the FIRST and THIRD Thursdays of each month this summer.
For now, let's say Veteran's Park (kid-friendly) from 10:00-11:00 am.
This will kick off on Thursday, June 18th.
July dates will be Thursday, July 2nd and Thursday, July 16th.
Hope to see you there!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. " [Ezekiel 36:26]
NOTE: An excerpt from the book I am reading, The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns:
"As followers of Christ, we must become acutely aware of the darkness and hardness of the human heart. God is certainly aware. He spoke of it when He said of His people, "I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh"(Ezekiel 11:9) It is our "stony hearts" that are the root cause not only of apathy toward our fellow man but even of hatred, murder, and genocide. Divided between the things of God and the things of the world, our "hearts of stone" are incapable of loving the poor unless God changes them to hearts of "flesh". Should this not cause us to plead with God daily... for our hearts to "be broken by the things that break the heart of God"?
Monday, June 1, 2009
I want to encourage you to join our "Summer Team" for scripture memory!
If you haven't participated up to this point, now is GREAT TIME!
There are approximately 12 weeks between now and the time school starts again.
Set your goal to work hard on these 12 passages we will memorize.
You will be greatly blessed!
Grab a friend and bring them along in this great journey!
If you don't ask them, who will?
Press on friends!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. " [Lamentations 3:22-23]
NOTE: Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tear-stained portrait of a once-proud Jerusalem, now reduced to a pile of rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes.
Jeremiah (traditionally acclaimed as the author of this book) lays bare his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren.
In the midst of this terrible tragedy, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, "Great is [the Lord's] faithfulness" (3:23)! In the face of death and destruction, with life seeming to come apart at the seams, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith.
God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future.
In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.
INSIGHT: Jeremiah's Two Glimpses of Jerusalem's Fall
Book of Jeremiah- Looking AHEAD to the fall of Jerusalem [WARNING]
Book of Lamentations- Looking BACK at the fall of Jerusalem [MOURNING]
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
One last "coffee time" before the kids are out of school!
Please join me Tuesday, June 2nd from 12:00 noon to 1:00 at Starbucks (Park Row and Bowen)
We will plan to meet during the summer at a "kid-friendly" location :)
See ya then!
PS- Thanks to Laura for the great scripture memory resources!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." [Jeremiah 29:11]
NOTE: Here is a brief overview of Jeremiah:
In chapter one the LORD called Jeremiah to be a prophet to Judah. The LORD immediately says what will happen to Judah (1:13-16) and why (1:16 and 2:13). He also promises to protect Jeremiah from the unbelieving and rebellious kings, princes, priest, and people (1:17-19).
Jeremiah’s message was that Judah has forsaken the Lord and turned to idols (2:11-13), and she is worse than Israel was 125 years ago (3:6-11). God, through Babylon, will severely discipline her (19; 20:1-6). If Judah will submit to Babylon, God will allow her to remain in the land; but if Judah resists, he will bring catastrophic destruction upon her (27:1-11). Judah did not repent, nor did she submit to Babylon. Therefore, God kept his word. He catastrophically judged Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and sent his people into slavery (32:17-36; 39; 52). The book of Lamentations (we will memorize from Lamentations next week) is Jeremiah’s sorrowful poem describing the results of Judah’s choice for idolatry instead of God.
Along with the prophecy of judgment, God also promised to restore Israel to her land sometime in the future. That promise is the New Covenant (31:31-34 , through the blood of Christ). At that time the Hebrew people will know and love God’s word; they will have eternal salvation and relationship with the Lord; and the Lord will have forgiven all their sins.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
There was a certain fulfillment and pride in the physical statue that sat on their shelves.
As we memorize our scripture week to week, we are accumulating "trophies" of a different kind. These treasures are eternal truths that surpass any award or prize we could gain on this earth!
We are on WEEK #20 of our scripture memory!
Press on friends!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." [Isaiah 55:8-9]
For a CHALLENGE add verses 10-12:
10 "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. "
NOTE : About the author: Isaiah
He served the Lord from about 740-680 BC. We could call Isaiah the "evangelist of the Old Testament" because of his clear presentations of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ (Isaiah 53). We could also call him the "Paul of the Old Testament" because of his apparent aristocracy, training, writing ability, and theological statements. He served in and around Jerusalem.
His main ministry was with Judah, but he prophesied judgment upon both Israel and Judah because of their apostasy. Along with judgment he also prophesied their future restoration and blessing because of God’s covenants with His people—the united nation of Israel.
Isaiah is a book that contains much warning and judgment, but also great messages of blessing. He repeated these two basic messages over and over again.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Thanks everyone for all of the wonderful insight and for sharing what the Lord is teaching you through these verses.
We decided to add the first part of verse 13 to our scripture memory for this week.
So, here's how we are memorizing it:
"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." [Ecclesiates 12:13]
Press on friends!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
"Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." [Ecclesiastes 12:13b]
NOTE: Solomon demonstrates from his observations that life lived without God as the central person and God’s word as the controlling viewpoint has no satisfactory answers or lasting meaning.
The theme of Ecclesiastes is developed from chapter to chapter. Each human acquisition of material wealth, every human success, all his thinking and study, every new philosophy of life—whatever he examined and experimented with came up short of giving him lasting meaning and happiness in life.
God is infinite and therefore his wisdom and his acts are infinite; God’s word is the product of his perfect character and infiniteness.
Mankind, on the other hand, is limited and therefore his wisdom is limited, his knowledge of life is limited, and his acts are limited.
Man, alone, cannot figure out life. Human knowledge, human wisdom, human accomplishments, and human relationships by themselves cannot make sense out of life. Neither, money, learning, wisdom, wealth, possessions, reputation, or family can give permanent meaning, accomplishment, and happiness to life without relationship and fellowship with God and God’s word.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." [Proverbs 3:5-6]
NOTE: The book of Proverbs doesn't read like any other book in the Bible. It is a series of "catchy" sayings that are intended to be easily remembered. So, if you feel like the author is jumping from one idea to the next, that's exactly what's happening! There are several major themes that are repeated in the Proverbs: wisdom, speech, work, purity and righteousness.
Here's a trivia question: what book in the New Testament is most like the book of Proverbs? It is a book with a variety of principles for practical Christian living.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
We have been planting God's Word in our own hearts and minds...let's not forget to PASS IT ON!
I want to challenge you to speak one of the verses you have memorized to someone who needs encouraging in the next three days! It may be someone at the grocery store, at the cleaners, at your kid's school, a neighbor...
Be alert and watchful! Ask God to show you clearly where He wants you to PASS IT ON!
Press on friends!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Here's what I found when I "dug a little deeper"-
The use of the phrase "right hand" in the Bible may refer to several things depending upon the context in which it is used. Here are a few examples:
The right hand is a place of distinction and favor (Genesis 48:13-19) as opposed to that of judgment or punishment (Matthew 25:33)
The right hand is a place of honor (1 Kings 2:19; Psalm 45:9); because of this, it is raised in swearing
The right hand is the place of power and strength (Psalm 60:5; 63:8; 108:6; 118:15,16; 110:1; Isaiah 28:2; Matthew 22:44; Matthew 20:21,23)
Let me know if you have something to add to this! I would love know your thoughts and what God has impressed on your heart this week regarding these verses.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
"I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." [Psalm 16:7-8]
For an extra challenge, add the next two verses:
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. [Psalm 16: 9-10]
The Psalms were written by at least seven authors (of which David is the most notable.) The book of Psalms spans one thousand years of Israel's rich history-from the time of Moses to the return from exile in Babylonia. The word psalm comes from a Greek word meaning "a song sung to the accompaniment of a plucked instrument." Used as the Temple hymnbook, the Psalms express the diversity of human emotion-praise to God in good times, fear of enemies in bad times, and an overriding confidence in God's goodness, majesty and power.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth." [Job 19:25]
NOTE: The events begin in chapter 1 with Satan challenging God that Job only follows Him because of what God gives him. The events then move to earth where Satan causes Job’s world to fall apart and then attacks Job’s health.
God allows Satan to test Job, and Job through his free will eventually demonstrates to Satan that he accepts and trusts God in spite of all his undeserved suffering.
Question to ponder: When I am suffering or under great pressure, am I confident in God’s character—that God is my comforter, strengthener, and restorer?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
God brought to mind the perfect spiritual illustration for my past week or two of scripture memory. The circumstances and events of living life have "clouded" my weeks and I have felt a little overwhelmed with the "rain" of life. Why does it have to rain on me now?
I had to make a choice: keep running or turn back. I chose to keep running. And wouldn't you know...that God turned those raindrops into a sweet time of refreshment! The coolness of the rain on my face and the realization that our faithful God is replenishing the earth with much needed water.
Sometimes we read the WORD and study simply out of the discipline God has called us to. But then, it becomes like a sweet refreshment to our souls and the blessing is ours! Isn't God good?
Press on friends!
(A little wet) Tiffany
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I just posted this week's verse in Esther. Please take a few minutes in the next day or two to read her story and understand the context of this verse. There are only 10 chapters in the book of Esther, so an easy read, right? She has an amazing story!
I will be at Starbucks this Wednesday, April 8, from noon til 1:00. (Park Row/Bowen)
I know things are super busy for everyone, but if you can make it for just a little while, I think you will be encouraged!
This "coffee time" is simply a means to spur each other on. Even if you have fallen behind or have done just a couple of the memory verses, please come! The spiritual nuggets of truth that are shared during this time are wonderful-
"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" [Esther 4:14b)
NOTE: Esther was a young Jewish woman of wonderful character, intelligence, beauty, and initiative. She understood submission to authority and then how to use authority when she was in a position to do so. She was teachable and also a leader. She waited to take the right action at the right time.
Do I know when to keep silent and when to speak; when to patiently wait and when to act; and how to act when the opportunity arises?
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
How's your progress in our quest to memorize scripture? Are you maintaining your good study habits or do you need to "hunker down" and put your "nose to the grindstone"?
This last week I got in a little bit of a slump, so I am regrouping and pushing forward!
As I was trying to figure out how to end this post, my funny husband chimed in and said "God doesn't grade on a curve....so get with it" or "the big exam is coming..don't flunk out" or "if you don't start memorizing, you will never graduate!" (we had a good laugh!)
The truth is- there is so much grace!
Press on friends!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
"But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands." " [Nehemiah 6:9b]
NOTE: Nehemiah went to Jerusalem (444 BC) in response to the report that the remnant was in “great distress and reproach” (Nehemiah 1:3). He worked toward the establishment of Israel’s homeland security and national welfare by concentrating on the completion of the Jerusalem wall and gates in the face of enemy propaganda, ridicule, threats, compromise, slander, and treachery (Nehemiah 1-7), and by bringing about spiritual revitalization of the Jewish people now in Judah (Nehemiah 8-13).
Nehemiah was a patriot, leader, and man of action—all under God’s motivation and guidance. He excelled as a spiritual, political, and military leader. Nehemiah stood out as a man driven by the biblical worldview in a world driven by antagonism to God and God’s word.
Big Ideas: Leadership, courage, and persistence!
Since we will need to skip some books to come out to 52 weeks in a year, I am skipping II Chronicles and Ezra.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
[David also said to Solomon his son,] (optional)
"Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. " [I Chronicles 28:20]
NOTE: David's final words to Solomon reflect the same wholehearted devotion to God that he first expressed as a youthful shepherd in the pasturelands of Judea. With the dream of his heart (building a temple) entrusted to his son and the tokens of God's blessing all around him, David died " at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor. His son Solomon succeeded him as king. "(I Chronicles 29:28)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
But, I am determined to go the distance! How about you?
I set a goal that by Friday I would have this week's verse memorized AND polish up on the couples verses that just don't "stick" as easily
Press on everyone!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
"But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence. " [II Kings 13:23]
NOTE: For generations God has been preparing a people (the Jews), a king (David) and a kingdom, (Judah) through whom he would bless the world. In spite of the nation's unbelief, disobedience, and even displacement from the land, God's plan for them is still at work.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" [1 Kings 3:9]
After David's death, Solomon steps into the enormous responsibilities as God's anointed. When confronted by God with the invitation "Ask, and I will give it to you!" (3:5), Solomon replies with our memory verse for this week. (3:9) God also provides the things Solomon could have asked for but didn't: wealth, victory, fame and long life.
NOTE: The NLT Bible states: "For who BY HIMSELF is able to govern this great nation of yours?"
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Webster's dictionary defines sacrifice as " the surrender of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim."
Take time today to think about what "sacrifice" looks like in your life.
May the Lord give you wisdom and insight and may He be glorified in your sacrifice!
Saturday, February 28, 2009
"I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." [2 Samuel 24:24b]
NOTE: The context of this passage is what makes this verse so significant. King David arrived to worship God at the farmland of Araunah, the Jebusite. The native was so thrilled that royalty came to his home that he urged David to freely use whatever land, wood and livestock he wanted for his sacrifice. However, David knew that a sacrifice that costs nothing wasn't a sacrifice at all. True worship always requires something from us. True worship is costly.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." [1 Samuel 16:7]
Thursday, February 19, 2009
We had a great time yesterday at Starbucks! We will plan on doing this at least once a month.
Susan, Laura, Sara and I shared some tips that help us when we memorize scripture. We also talked about where we put our memory cards so that they are always on our mind and just shared some neat things about what we are learning.
Here are a couple things that work for us:
Write your memory verse in your daily planner so that you see it every day.
Keep a copy of your verse near your kitchen sink (we are never far from there!)
Keep note cards with verses in your car (not to be reviewed while driving, please!)
We also shared some silly ways that we remember the "address" of the verse!
I hope that you can join us next time.
This is a great journey to share!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
1. You're in a marathon, not a sprint. Try to keep a steady pace. In this race, it's better that you finish well than to finish first.
2. Make up the distance on the downhills. You may lose some momentum when life is busy or you are wrestling with any number of other challenges. Don't get discouraged. When you get some margin [a vacation, a road trip, a weekend retreat], focus on one or two extra verses.
3. Take a shortcut if you must. Marathon courses are carefully monitored to make sure runners don't slip down alleys to the finish. In the Spiritual disciplines, you're permitted to take a shorter route. Some of the entries posted here may have two- or three-verse selections. Feel free to simply memorize a portion of what is provided. Similarly, if you prefer to memorize a different text, do so! This is about how you are personally connecting with God.
4. Cherish the experience. I've had the opportunity to run in several races with a view that, one day, I may run a marathon. When I do, I won't care so much that I've kept up with all the other runners, or that I make the top list of finishers. I will embrace the whole experience: the gratitude of being challenged, the satisfaction of aiming high, the joy of doing it with my running companions. These same big picture principles are important to remember as you press on to memorize God's Word.
So, stay in the race! I'm cheering for you!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Let's get together for a little refreshment and encouragement!
I will be at the Starbucks at Park Row and Bowen next Wednesday, Feb. 18th from 12:00 noon til 1:00.
We will be reviewing our verses up to this point and encouraging each other with all that we are learning.
Leave a comment on this post if you plan to come. Hope to see you then!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit. [Judges 21:25]
NOTE: The significance of this verse is that it is considered by many as the theme verse of the book of Judges. The people experienced an ongoing cycle of disobedience, discipline, despair and deliverance--a cycle that was the result of doing what they wanted, not what God desired. With each cycle, God sent deliverers (judges) to rescue His people.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
"The book of Joshua is a tale of war and peace. In the first twelve chapters, the people of Israel conquer the land of Canaan. Through three military campaigns involving more than thirty enemy armies, they learn a valuable lesson under Joshua's capable leadership: Victory comes through faith in God and obedience to His WORD rather than by military might or numerical superiority. "
In chapter one of Joshua, God is providing Joshua with the assurance he needs to face the towering giants and strongholds in Canaan. What is one situation in your life today in which you too can draw courage from the promises in the book of Joshua?
Be strong and courageous my friends!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. [Deuternonomy 6:4-6]
For an extra challenege, add vv. 7-9:
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. [Deuternonomy 6:7-9]
NOTE: This passage is the first and most fundamental passage of Judaism. Every Jewish child would learn the shema--the affirmation of God's oneness. For more information, click here and here.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
These verses are the foundation of any discipline in the spiritual life. We could concern ourselves with senseless, meaningless things...and we do! But, there is a greater value in investing in eternal exercises [see also Matthew 6:19-20]. When we train ourselves to be godly [the word "train" is the Greek word gymnaze--a word that forms the root of our English word "gymnasium"], it has benefit now and forever.
Many people argue that they can't memorize the Bible. Truth is, we all memorize things: birthdays, phone numbers, email addresses, football statistics, client names. We remember things that are important to us. Bible memory is a discipline whereby we chose to put our mind to work in what we know will yield a great reward [we'll see this more when we get to weeks #5 and #18].
Tips to memorize Scripture:
1. Same time, same place. Chose a rhythm of place and time to help you work on your verse. I will likely work on my passage during my daily walk/run. You could use your commute time or lunch break. I heard of one guy who put his verse on a card taped to the dashboard of his car and, just before he turned the key, he would recite the week's passage.
2. Study to make it stick. It's hard work to memorize a sentence that doesn't make sense. But, once you understand what it says, it's a piece of cake. Take a few minutes to figure out what each verse actually means and you'll find it easier to learn and retain each one.
3. Rewrite and record. This discipline will be much easier if you rewrite the verse, in your own handwriting, on a note card [the act of writing it down the first time jump starts the memory process]. Also, when you write the verse down, separate it into bite-size phrases and put each phrase on a separate line.
4. Drop the divisions. The verse divisions [i.e., Numbers 23:15, 16, 17] are not a part of the inspired text. They are markers, added much later, as a convenience to the Bible reader. It's not important for you to remember where verse 3 ends and verse 4 begins. So, drop it.
5. One version. Choose a version of the Bible that you most often use and stick with it through the discipline. Remember, you are learning texts that you will remember, recall and use in ministry. So, choose wisely. In this blog, I have referenced the New International Version because of it correspondence to original languages, its widespread usage and its readability.
6. Word perfect. Do the hard work of getting each verse memorized word perfect. You'll thank yourself later. Memorization is like the "telephone game." As the years roll on, you might find yourself dropping a word or accidental flopping a phrase. If you start with an inaccurate starting point, you could end up anywhere a few years from now.
7. Review, review, review. The real key to verse memory isn't the initial memorization; It's the ongoing review. I plan to review prior verses during the first 1/2 mile of my walk and work on my present week's verse for the remainder of my exercise. Constant recall will insure a lifetime of retention.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
1. Increasing your faith
Scripture memory increases our faith and trust in God as we begin to look at life more from His point of view. Paul wrote, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). The memorized Word of God helps us grasp this attitude of Christ as we walk through life, and builds our faith in God’s guidance and love for us. Christian worker Bob Foster called Scripture memory “the daily habit of supplying the subconscious with God’s material to chew upon.” He wrote, There is a vast difference between “I have a verse” and “It has me.” The one can be the parrot-like repetition of words...the latter is the transforming by the renewing of your mind.
2. Victory over sin
Just as the psalmist wrote, Scripture memory helps us have victory over sin: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11)
3. Inner cleansing
Scripture memory has a cleansing effect. To get rid of unclean thoughts which can lead to unclean words and actions, we can substitute clean thoughts by concentrating on the words of God that we have memorized. Instead of suppressing evil thoughts, we replace them. In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes, "Finally, brothers, 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."
4. Knowing and living Bible doctrine
Scripture memory can increase our awareness of biblical doctrines, providing a practical foundation for the way we are to live.
God instructs us in the way we should go as he speaks to us through the Scriptures we know by heart. “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:24). Similarly, the Psalmist states that God's Word is a lamp and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).
Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). God's Word, tucked away in our heart and mind, enables us to converse with God.
7. Bible study
Scripture memory helps us in our study of the Bible As we know more cross-references, we can more easily tie various parts of Scripture together to increase our understanding
8. Finding passages
By memorizing key verses, we can locate specific passages on a particular teaching. Knowing Matthew 6:33, for example––”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”–– helps us remember that Jesus’ teaching about placing God’s concerns above our own physical needs is found in Matthew 6.
Scripture memory allows us to meditate at any time on God’s Word. We’ll always have something scriptural to think about, even when it isn’t possible to open up a Bible. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97)
10. Experiencing the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures we have memorized to strengthen us and to help us experience the power of his presence. See John 14:26.
Scripture memory assists us in our worship of God. In our personal, joyful worship of Him at any time of day we can praise God for His righteous laws (Psalm 119:164).
12. Not wasting time
Scripture memory helps us make good use of what might otherwise be wasted time, such as waiting in a long line at the grocery store or driving to work. We may even find that occupying our mind with God’s word keeps us from becoming impatient or angry.
We will surely encounter those who are downcast and discouraged. As we seek to minister to people's deepest needs, we can give them the reassuring words of Scripture which can comfort, challenge, answer, and satisfy the human heart.
Scripture memory enables us to witness effectively. By knowing verses that present the plan of salvation we are equipped for evangelism at any time, just as the apostle Peter quoted the Old Testament words of Joel and David as he spoke to the crowd that assembled on the day of Pentecost (Act 2). We can also give biblical answers to people who as us about our faith. We may not have a Bible with us in a spur-of-the-moment situation, but we are never without the portions of Scripture we have memorized.
Anyone who teaches God’s word publicly should be able to note Scripture to make his points and and to answer questions from his listeners.