Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Announcing: Drawing for subscribers who comment on the blog!

There is a new reason to subscribe to The Memorizing Scripture Blog:

Beginning February 1, 2012, I will enter each subscriber’s name into a monthly drawing for various prizes, such as: Rayanne’s Christian Bookstore, Lifeway Christian Bookstore, or Eternal Grounds (a Christian coffee shop) gift cards; great resource books, etc. or tickets to The Center for Biblical Studies seminars.

And to encourage more sharing and accountability on the blog, every time subscribers comment on any post, their names will be entered again into the monthly drawing.

I hope you win!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking Differently

Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…

Hebrews 12: 2 (AMP)
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]…

I remember clearly what could have been a defining moment for me:

David, a dear friend, leaned against the door frame of where I was staying, and paused. His voice was serious, his eyes intense. With his kind voice he said, “Sheryl, you know the song that starts with: ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face?’ I think you need to try that.” And he was right.

But I didn’t heed his advice that day.

David knew me well. He knew that although I had a deep love for God, I wasn’t focused on Him and His will for me. I was distracted with other desires including seeking attention, being popular and entertaining. I chose to pursue other things more aggressively than God.

Unfortunately, I didn’t recall David’s words until decades later. By then I wished I could go back to that moment and follow his suggestion. Of course that wasn’t possible.

But as of today, I give Him my full devotion.

As I continue my January goal of showing my husband, Bert, more respect, I will do so by fixing my eyes on Jesus: His love, His ways, His mercy, His greatness and power (His ability to change me) – and especially on His love for Bert.

Each time I’m tempted to focus on Bert’s imperfections, I’ll go to the Source of my faith and ask God to bring me another step towards maturity. I want to envision His loving face encouraging me to step closer into my relationship with my husband – and with Him. And I want to envision Him calling Bert closer as well – to me and to Him.

If I have to, I’ll print this post to remind me! Where would I be today in my marriage (and my Christian walk) if I had heeded David’s advice those many years ago?

With God’s help, I think I can do this. What about you?

Will you join me?

• How different would our Christian walk be if we merely fixed our eye on Jesus all the time?

• How much grief and suffering could we bypass if we looked away from all our distractions and looked to Jesus instead? How would it affect our relationships?

• Are you going to set a new goal for February or do you need to spend more time on your current one?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lord, Help Me Stay Quiet!

Psalm 39:1 (NASB)
I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle…”

Psalm 39:1 (AMP)
I said, I will take heed and guard my ways, that I may sin not with my tongue; I will muzzle my mouth as with a bridle…
___

“Call me back when you have something better. I expected more from you.”

I got off the phone a little stunned. I could almost feel the scrape across my soul in the pit of my stomach. Sales is a tough profession. And though I receive a lot more complimentary words than critical ones, a critical word always affects me – it’s demoralizing at times. And as this unsettling feeling lingered, I decided again that I don’t want to cause others – especially Bert – to experience similar feelings due to my insensitive comments.

Instead I want to be known – again, especially by Bert – as one who encourages and supports another.

In context, Psalm 39 is referring to holding your tongue in the presence of an enemy. Let’s agree our husbands (or the person we’re in conflict with) are not our enemies – even though we sometimes behave as if they are.

Certainly, there are times when our husbands (or others) push our buttons, and treat us unfairly.  But what if, even then we muzzle our tongues and pray instead.

My immediate prayer would have to be, “Lord, help me stay quiet!” (They say God can do anything, right?) Then, what if my very next prayer would be one for my husband?

After all, what is my purpose as Bert’s wife? Certainly not to change him to my standards.

And how is my character being defined as I yield, or not yield, to God’s grace? Do I yield to Love, or to the enemy’s maliciousness?

Unfortunately for me, many times holding my tongue only lasts a very short while – a few seconds! But, I’m not giving up (and neither is Bert, thankfully) I can see that God is at work within me, and each time I actually yield to God’s grace to hold my tongue, it gives me confidence that I’ll do it again.

What do you think?

• How are you doing with your goal?

• How can we help?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Go Ahead, Ask Me

Colossians 3:17 (NASB)
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:17 (AMP)
And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

“Bert, I don’t have time to clean the house, my post for the blog isn’t finished yet.”

Even though I could tell Bert wasn’t happy, that line of reasoning made sense to me because the house didn’t look that bad, and what would the world do without my insights? (Totally kidding with the last part of that sentence – well, maybe not totally!)

Last week I shared the goal I’m working on for the rest of January: to show more respect to my husband, Bert. Guess who loved that goal (besides God)?

Since then, I picked Colossians 3:17 as my verse to help me. The Amplified version reminds me to depend on God to help me to do all things (even change my priorities) with the right attitude.

The verse also depicts the attitude I want to emulate: to do everything as one representing God Himself – with thanksgiving. What if every word I spoke and every deed I performed for Bert, I spoke or did as if I were literally representing the ultimate Servant? I assure you, I would really have to depend on God’s presence within me to accomplish that – especially when you add the “giving thanks” part. But could you imagine what that attitude could do for a marriage?

I truly believe that we encounter amazing joy and peace as we pursue a higher level of obedience. Do you crave that kind of joy and peace? I do. Each time we’re tempted, let’s obey God – one choice at a time.

And although cleaning house is not an extraordinary act, I also want to respect Bert by prioritizing in ways that honor him. After all, I am blessed with a great husband.

Now, readers, I give you permission to ask me: Is my tone when speaking to Bert always loving? Are my thoughts concerning him affirming ones? Or, how did I handle it when he asked me to run an errand that he was suppose to run – especially when I’m already feeling stressed with my schedule?

Okay, now it’s your turn. What is your goal for the rest of January? What verse(s) are you going to memorize or meditate on?

I heard from a few of you via email or by commenting on the blog. Your feedback helped formed this week’s post. Thank you.

What do you think?

• Do you want to experience profound joy and peace as you pursue a higher level of obedience?

• What’s keeping you from joining us in setting a goal for the next two weeks? What verse(s) would help you with that goal?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Need Your Help

Psalm 32:8 (NASB)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
____

“I’m sorry, Bert.”

It seems I say that a lot – especially lately. Just ask my husband, Bert.

Even though I truly regret the words or conduct that warrants the apologies, it seems I stay in the same behavior rut way too many times. And could it be true that since I began this blog, I’ve even gotten worse in some areas? How could that be?

I’m embarrassed to say that I spent more time writing about the verses then spending time in them.

But this week’s verse encourages me that God is keeping His eye on me instructing me in the way I should go. I need – and want – His constant watch over me. It’s comforting to know He doesn’t let me stray from His sight.

But I also need your help.

Naively, I thought since I knew you’d be reading where I struggle, I would naturally start doing better due to the accountability factor. But, believe me, it ain’t happening. At least not enough.

During 2012, I would like to direct us toward one of my original goals for the blog. From some of the emails I’ve been receiving, I’m convinced it could be effective for others as well.

Would it be helpful for you to have others praying with you and pulling for you in the areas you struggle with? Do you need accountability in the way you eat, the choices you make, behavior issues, the way you treat others, etc.?  Is there an entangling sin or habit you want to break this month?

I’m thinking it would be neat to set a goal each month and watch what God can do in us as we memorize, or meditate on relevant verses. Remember you can share any verse that applies to your struggle. Who knows who else would benefit from your input?

I hope you will join me and share your struggles, including prayer requests regarding areas of struggles. Of course, we’d love to hear about areas of victories as well. Hopefully, it will evolve into a dialogue as we leave comments (you can choose a pseudo name if you’d like). But the main thing is to also pull for one another as we pray and support each other.

I’ll go first. My goal for the rest of January is to show more respect to my husband. I will spend this week seeking the appropriate verse and share it with you next time.

As we each pursue becoming the person God designed us to be, here’s a powerful reminder:

Ephesians 3:20 (NIV1984)
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

Wow!

What do you think?

• What is your goal this month toward becoming more Christlike?

• What verse would help you with that goal?
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