Monday, June 30, 2014

Finally, Memorizing Scripture on the Memorizing Scripture Blog!

Photo by 19 Upstream (Flickr)

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted. Sorry about that.

I’ve taken this brief “pause” so I could think about what Memorizing Scripture Blog should be about. The name of the blog implies there is some serious memorizing going on here.

I can’t help but wonder if perhaps people stop by, anticipating the challenge of memorizing, but leave disappointed after finding a more devotional-type blog.

For that, I apologize. I want to be truer to the blog’s name.

My plan is for us to memorize sections of the Bible, one verse at a time. Sometimes, one small segment at a time. By the way, no one will be quizzing you! So as you attempt to memorize these verses (or segments), don’t worry if you can’t recite them perfectly.

Instead of me writing a devotional about the verse (or segment), I hope you and I will discuss (via the comment link) what the memory verse means to us or how it applies to what we’re going through. From time to time, I may interview authors and others who have been memorizing scripture for years. If you have a story how hiding God’s Word in your heart has helped you, please email me! It would be interesting to hear people’s stories on how scripture have changed them.

Also, in addition to memorizing a verse a week, I will sometimes include techniques for memorizing Bible verses. Again, please email me your favorite methods. Even better, share your idea via the comment link below.

Okay! Let’s get started with Psalm 1, verse 1! I will include the Amplified Bible because I love its wonderful depth. You can memorize the verse in the NIV, and use the Amplified version as a meditation tool.

Psalm 1:1 New International Version (NIV)
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers

Psalm 1:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.

I will email you a copy of the weekly verses, formatted to fit a standard index card. Be sure to subscribe to this blog (via email) and leave a comment letting me know what Bible translation you prefer.

  • What do you think about this new direction for Memorizing Scripture Blog?
  • What does this verse mean to you regarding your experiences?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I Will Remember that God Loves Me

The line was long, but moving steadily. We were all dressed the same, in our long white robes. I was nearing the front of the line and I could see Jesus’ face beaming as He greeted each newcomer into heaven—until He saw me. When our eyes met, it seemed His countenance changed from one of loving delight to that of a well-I-guess-since-you’re-here-you-might-as-well-come-in kind of look.

Many years ago, each time I envisioned the day I would enter into heaven, the above scenario played through my mind. During that period of my life, I was very performance-based (seeking approval and love by striving to “be the best” or doing whatever was expected of me). I wasn't doubting my salvation, I just couldn't imagine that Jesus would be happy to see me.  Especially since I was much less “perfect” than those in line with me.

Last week, we discussed starting our day by telling God we loved Him even if we’re not sure whether He loves us. This week, I'm hoping you begin to understand God most certainly loves you—even when you’re living in a constant state of messing up.

Romans 5:8 (NKJ)
Photo by GaborDvornik (Flickr)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus died for us before He had any evidence that we wanted His love.

Jesus died for you and me before we had a chance to prove our worthiness. (Even if it were possible to earn that kind of love).

Jesus died knowing we would never be able to do anything to earn it!

As a person who used to never feel worthy to be loved by anyone, most of all by God, it took me a while to accept God’s love for me.

But as I began to spend more time around people who were secure in God’s love for them (and believe me, they weren't all that perfect, either), the more I was able to accept that perhaps He could love me, too.

I started to spend more time with God through prayer and Bible reading. Eventually, when I prayed, it felt more like I was talking with my loving Father, rather than to a distant God. More and more I began looking forward to “our” time together.

And now, when I picture that future day when I enter into heaven, I see Jesus not only beaming, but holding me tightly!

Thank You, Father, for loving me a lot! I pray others will begin to consider Your great love for them, as well. Holy Spirit, continue to show us that Your love is not based on anything we do (or don’t do), but on Your very nature, love. 

This week’s goal and practical application:
This week, while meditating on (with the intent to memorize) Romans 5:8, I will continue to remember God loves me(!)—even when I am not acting “perfectly.”

For instance, when I behave disrespectfully toward Bert, overeat for a whole weekend, or don’t keep the house as tidy as I would like, I will remember that (although God exhorts and enables me to do differently), I am not a failure in His eyes because He loves me. (However, I will also remember that it would be easier for Bert to “love me” if I would continue to make progress in these areas!)

What about you? (I’d love to hear from you via the comment link)

  • Do you wonder if God loves you?
  • How would being absolutely convinced of His love for you, change you?

How can we pray for you?

(Pseudonyms may be used when you comment)

Note: Memorizing Scripture Blog (for anyone) and the Coffee with Sheryl blog (for ladies) both have the Current Goals tab located under the blogs' headers. "Current Goals" offers several practical links including topics such as: being a better spouse or parent, choosing better eating and exercising habits, overcoming addictions, dealing with depression, etc. The Immediate Goals link (for setting task-related goals) is only available at the Coffee with Sheryl Blog.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Having Trouble Getting Out of Bed in the Mornings?

Photo by Sodanie Chea (Flickr)  
The sun broke through the curtains. Another day.

I don’t want to get up. There’s so much to get done, but I’m still so tired. And I’ve put off doing so many things that now I don’t even know where to start. 

I’m afraid Steven is about ready to give up on me. My friends from church already have ….

The thoughts rolled in, each outdoing the previous with its negative and foreboding messages.

“I wish I could turn off my brain!” Stacey screamed into her pillow.

I remember what it was like to dread the beginning of another day. Racing thoughts about the things I had put off doing for way too long (plus every other way I was failing at life) escalated the anxiety. And the unrelenting thought that I was a constant disappointment to everyone—including myself—reinforced my fears.

Sound familiar? May I suggest something that helped me?

What if, at the beginning of your day you choose to tell God you love Him.

Please don’t shut me out.

I know how many times you've heard something similar. People mean well (honest, they do!), when they freely offer “helpful, easy” tips, but often those same people don't even know how to spell “anxiety” or “depression.” And they don’t have a clue to what it is like to have an addictive or eating disorder problem. But I do. So please hear me out.

What if you were to spend the first 60 seconds of every morning, before the usual fearful or negative thoughts have a chance to take root, telling God you love Him? Even if you’re filled with doubt about whether He loves you, spend 60 seconds telling Him how much you adore Him. If all you can do is repeat, “I love You, God. I love You God” over and over again, then do just that.

This morning, I did just that. In lieu of using a bunch of words, I said out loud, "I love You, God. I love You, Lord" several times, with meaning. After a few times repeating to Him those simple words, something sweet began to happen. Very sweet.

Consider proclaiming your love out loud to Him. Hearing our voices exalt Him actually increases our awareness of how awesome He is. (I promise not to tell if you go beyond a minute!)

It could change your day—and perhaps it could eventually change your life.

Next week, we will spend time discussing our feelings and fears about God’s love for us.

Think about it: 
Could this be an easy, but effective way to help you to begin to face the day—or at least help you get out of bed? I realize it won’t solve all of your emotional struggles, but give it a try!

Psalm 18:1 (New American Standard Bible)
I love You, O LORD, my strength.

Lord God, I love You. I love You. I love You! Please help us to express our devotion to You, even when it feels as if You’re too far away to hear us. 

This week’s goal and practical application:
This week, and for all the weeks to come, while meditating on (with the intent to memorize) Psalm 18:1, I will continue to express my love to God for the first 60 seconds of my day. I will repeat this practice throughout the day, whenever I am feeling overwhelmed.

For instance, when I'm feeling stressed at work because I am having a poor sales day, I will pause and say out loud to God, “I love You, Lord!”

And when I receive troubling news or my mind begins to re-play negative tapes, I will begin to sing a song to the One I love most.

Will this work in your world? (I’d love to hear from you via the comment link)
I realize your story is different from mine and your struggles may be much worse than mine were. But I’m hoping this post will help.

Please tell me how I can be praying for you.

(Pseudonyms may be used)

Note: Memorizing Scripture Blog (for anyone) and the Coffee with Sheryl blog (for ladies) both have the Current Goals tab located under the blogs' headers. "Current Goals" offers several practical links including topics such as: being a better spouse or parent, choosing better eating and exercising habits, overcoming addictions, dealing with depression, etc. The Immediate Goals link (for setting task-related goals) is only available at the Coffee with Sheryl Blog.

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