Our Final Verses

Hello dear Siestas,

Well this is it, the end of the line. I cannot thank you enough for joining me in this Scripture memory journey. I know that for every minute you have invested in hiding God’s Word in your heart, you have been blessed many times more, and have hopefully blessed those around you as well as you have let His light shine through you.

I have decided not to continue this blog next year. I started it to fill a void left when Beth wasn’t providing a place for us to post our verses, but she is doing the Siesta Scripture Memory Team again this year, so I don’t feel the need to continue. Please check out her blog here on Monday. I have so enjoyed the community and support I’ve seen and experienced here, don’t get me wrong, but I would rather have everyone who posted here this year post on Beth’s blog in the coming year so that we can all meet up together face to face in Houston in January 2014. I will be sending out an email on the 1st and 15th of each month to remind people to post and to offer encouragement, so if you would like to continue to hear from me (and share with me your verses and insight), let me know with a comment below if you would like to receive this email.

Last year my final verse was Psalm 119:11:

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

I think that pretty well sums up the whole thing, why we do this. At least it did for me in 2011. By hiding God’s word in my heart I hoped to draw myself nearer to God and hopefully be more like Jesus.

This year my final verses are a bit stronger. Well, a lot stronger. After all, it’s Jesus talking this time, not David.

Matthew 7: 24-29

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rains came and the streams rose and the wind blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rains came and the streams rose and the wind blew and beat upon that house and it fell with a great crash.”

When Jesus had finished saying these things the people were amazed at his teaching because he taught as one who had authority, not as their teachers of the law.

I find the contrast of these two passages interesting and a bit symbolic of the progression in my own journey. Last year, as you have seen here if you have been following along, memorizing Bible verses was a great comfort to me as I journeyed through a very difficult year during which my Dad suffered and died of cancer. I gained much more than just comfort from those verses, hopefully some wisdom and more. But this year we end with the very strong words of Jesus telling us to put them into practice, or our house will fall with a great crash. Notice that we are not promised that if we put his words into practice our house will be protected from any storm. On the contrary, we are promised that our house will come under the same duress as that of the person who does not put the words of Jesus into practice. The difference is that those who are taking his words to heart, and even more, really trying to live them, not just knowing them or being able to say them, those are the people who will withstand the promised storms of life. I learned earlier this year that in Jesus’s time, Hebrew children learned vast quantities of Scripture by heart, that was a large part of their schooling Most of them memorized the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Those who showed promise went on to memorize even more. This is astonishing to me, but even so, Jesus made a point of saying, to His Hebrew audience, many of whom would have committed huge portions of The Holy Scriptures to memory, that it was all for naught if they weren’t putting those words into practice. A powerful way to end the year in Scripture memory.

So thank you again for joining me here. If you came late to this party, not to worry! It starts over again in just two weeks, on January 1, 2013! If you think you can’t do it, take a look at Philippians 4:13 or Matthew 6:7-11. If you commit to doing this, you will not be alone! This is a gift that God wants to give you, He will help you receive it! And you will have a community of Siestas to help you as well. Take this leap of faith, and I promise, you will not regret it.

I love each of you with all my heart, and again I thank you.

The Lord bless you and keep you,

The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you,

The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

It’s your turn. Please take a moment to post your final verses of the year below, and let me know if you’d like to be included in my emails for the 2013 SSMT Challenge.

Warmly, Christy

Verses 22 & 23

Hello Siestas!

So sorry about last time, it got by me! I kept thinking, Oh I need to go back and post and the next thing I knew it was December! I’ll confess that it is due to a combination of the busy-ness of this time of year and losing steam. I pray that each of you is remaining faithful to God’s Word! I can’t believe that we are only 4 weeks away from the end of the Sermon on the Mount, it has been an incredible journey. Please let me know below what you are working on now, and how you have felt the impact in your life this year.

My verse for November 15 last year was Exodus 15:2, chosen the week after my Dad’s funeral:

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Thank you, Lord, for that timely verse!

And my verse for last December 1, 1 John 4:11-12, passed to me by my dear friend Linda at the most appropriate time, both for then and now.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

As we near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we are in the midst of this passage:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

That’s a lot, but remember I’m making up for lost time here. I apologize again! If you are interested in a deeper discussion on this passage, go to my dear friend Cara’s blog by clicking here.

One last thing, my sweet sister-in-law Keely gave us this simple and beautiful Advent idea, my kids and I started this today and are loving it.

Have a blessed Christmas season, and I will see you once again on December 15!

The Lord bless you and keep you, dear sisters!

Love, Christy

Verse 21

Nearing the end.

Wow, what a journey. As I mentioned in my last post, this time last year was a rough patch. My Dad lay dying of cancer in his home. I was there to be with him and to offer support to my stepmom, as well as to get her support in this difficult time. My Dad and I have always been very close, and I had dreaded losing him for a lot longer than he had been ill. But through the power of the Word of God, I felt comforted and covered in peace that truly transcends any human understanding.

I’d like to share a little about my Dad. He was handsome, talented musician, then an Air Force officer and commander, then a successful mortgage broker, then in his 50s he went to seminary and became a pastor. He was a very smart man, graduating early and with honors, accumulating 3 advanced degrees in varied fields, and rising through military ranks from an enlisted musician to a full Colonel, the commanding officer of a military base in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf conflict. He was born into poverty, the youngest of 6 children who shared a bedroom and a community outhouse, but by the time he passed away he owned 4 houses, 3 cars and had a nice retirement plan, all the while faithfully honoring God with his tithes and offerings. To say that I looked up to and admired this man is an understatement. I am proud and well aware how blessed I am to be his daughter.

But that’s not the whole story. His first marriage, to my Mom, ended in a painful divorce for all involved. I would rather not go into detail about his failings, but rest assured I am well aware that he was not perfect. But I have always felt that his is a story of redemption, of the miracle of the grace of God, and the ability of the Holy Spirit to work through a repentant heart and turn ashes to beauty. My parents’ divorce was the single most traumatic event in my life, but looking back I can see God’s hand working through the tragedy of a broken marriage and many broken hearts, and I can appreciate the good that came from it, namely my Dad’s eternal salvation, and his then touching the lives of those he came into contact with in the name of Jesus, spreading the good news of His gift of eternal life. If it hadn’t been for my parents’ divorce, and my Dad’s commitment to putting God at the very center of his second marriage, I don’t know that I would be the believer I am today.

Three years before he was diagnosed with lung cancer, Dad had a heart episode that resulted in his needing a pacemaker/defibrillator. Before he was to have this surgery, he had a talk with me. He wanted to tell me a few things. First, that because his Dad and one of his brothers had both died suddenly of heart attacks at the ages of 49 and 50, he had never expected to live much longer than that. He felt that, at age 63 at that time, he had been give the gift of 13 more years than he had ever expected, and he was grateful for the gift of those years. He also wanted to make sure that I knew that he had felt blessed beyond what he could ever have imagined his life to become. Last of all, he wanted to tell me that he loved me, and that he was proud of me. This is a gift I will never forget.

So for my verse at this time last year I chose one to honor my Dad,

Micah 6:8:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

As we near the one year anniversary of Dad’s passing from this life into the next, I miss him terribly, but I am comforted beyond understanding by the knowledge that he is with Jesus, that I will see him again one day, and that we will rejoice together at the foot of the throne of God.

This year, in the Sermon on the Mount, we are at Matthew 7:7-11:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds;and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

This has been a prevalent theme to me lately, coming up in many contexts. I find it incredible that God, the Creator of the universe, is promising us His good gifts if only we seek Him and ask. Let that sink in a second.

Does this mean that He will give us whatever we ask? Of course not. What I believe this means is that if we are truly seeking His will in our lives, seeking to walk in close relationship with Him, then the Holy Spirit will lead us to desire and ask for the kinds of gifts, the good gifts, that the Lord knows we need and which will benefit us. Gifts like wisdom, discernment, and the ability to love those around us, even when it might be difficult to do so. The ability to do what Jesus urges us to do at the end of Matthew 5, namely turn the other cheek and love our enemies.

I felt that my first year of Scripture memorization helped me through a dreadful time, watching my beloved Dad suffer and die from cancer, with not only some semblance of peace, but an even deeper faith in the promise of a perfect eternity. What a gift.

This past year has taken the practice of memorizing Bible verses to a whole new level. This study of the Sermon on the Mount has reversed things for me. Instead of choosing verses as they came to me and spoke to or inspired me, I have been  working through a passage which has at times perplexed me, and has continually challenged me. Again, I feel that the result has been a deeper and stronger faith that what Jesus said was true and right. And I want to be all in. Again, an indescribable gift.

I would love to hear about your verses, past and present, and the gifts you have found in memorizing Scripture. If you are feeling lost or behind, please take heart. Any effort you put into this will produce good fruit!

The Lord bless you and keep you,

The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you,

The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Christy

Verse 20

Verse 20

Wow, that just sounds like a lot of verses, doesn’t it? Well it is, and anyone who memorizes 20 Bible verses should feel some pride in their accomplishment, and hopefully even more, some change inside their heart from storing God’s word there. I know by this time last year I was feeling it. Not always in a pleasant way (that is to say, sometimes it went against the grain in a big, even painful way), but always in a way that was beneficial. My verses from last October 15 were the perfect example of this:

Luke 6:27-31

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Up to this point I had two “rules” (entirely of my own making) in memorizing Scripture. One was that I had decided that each of my verses would come from a different book of the Bible, and my second was that I would memorize all verses from the NIV1984. In fact, one of the first things I learned from my first year in Scripture memory was that there is a big difference between the NIV translation and the NIV 1984. Did you know that? I didn’t, til last year. I also learned more about lots of translations, but I digress… I had broken (or softened on) one of my own rules already by choosing two verses from Romans, so why not throw out the other one by memorizing this passage in  a different version, The Message? Try it on for size:

Luke 6:27-31

The Message (MSG)

27-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

31 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!”

Tough stuff, if you really think about it. So as the Lord would have it, I was working on the verses at a particularly difficult time, when my Dad was nearing the end of his battle with cancer, and to make matters worse, there was a good bit of interpersonal stress going on in my life. Oh I was feeling slapped in the face, sisters! I felt that I was being given a very hard time, and I was responding with the energies of prayer for that person, just as it said! Oh I was so ready to giftwrap my best coat and make a present of it!

And then it hit me.

It may be true that I was being slapped in the face, but I had done my fair share of slapping. I might have been given a hard time, but I sure had given others a hard time. And I had been doing that for a long time, all the while I had been feeling persecuted. Yikes.

You see, God’s Word can do that to you. When you really work on it, not just the mechanics, not just getting the words down, but really letting it penetrate. It can help you see yourself and those around you more clearly. In the true Light that illuminates everything.

Well this was all just a bit of foreshadowing for this year, studying the Sermon on the Mount. Oh sisters, I feel like I am a different person than I was before this. At least I hope I am. What I know for sure is that I see things in a different way than I did before, and I hope that lens is through the eyes of Jesus, and with the heart of Jesus. No, I will never truly have the real eyes or heart of my Savior, and unlike Him, I fall and fail daily, multiple times daily, but, well, I’ve never felt so content to be so weak, and I’ve never rested so fully in Him. Thank you, Lord!

So my dear friend Cara, who in December 2010 sent me an email inviting me to join her in this Scripture memory thing, and then who decided sometime in 2011 that in 2012 she would memorize the Sermon on the Mount and possibly asked or possibly allowed me to tag along, has been cavorting about Italy for the last few weeks with her Mama, and I have been left alone (with my dear friend Peggy, who also–like me–can’t seem to function without Cara around) to work on the verses I posted last time, and review the previous two chapters of Matthew, 5 and 6. It has been a glorious time of steeping in the Word. So I’ll repost the last set of verses for now, with the happy news that Cara has returned to the good ol’ USA, and we will have a new set next week.

Matthew 7:1-6

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Also, I have been inspired by Peggy and Linda (in their comments last time) to revisit and possibly-commit to memory my verses from last year. So far that is as far as I have gotten, the re-commitment part.

The Lord bless you and keep you, dear ones. Please leave a word and/or your verses below. I love you!

Christy

Verse 19

Hello Siestas!

It’s a cool and cloudy October Day here in Colorado. I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather, wherever you are!

Last year at this time I chose Zephaniah 3:17,

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

I’m not exactly sure why I chose this verse or where I read it, but it’s beautiful and I love it. How reassuring to know that God loves us this much. It’s a little overwhelming, that kind of love.

This year in the Sermon on the Mount we begin Matthew 7. It’s hard to believe we have come through Matthew 5 and 6 and are closing in on the end of this passage. I feel as though I have just caught up with where we are, and the beauty is that at the end of Matthew 6 is one of my favorite verses, just at the time when I was feeling as though I couldn’t possibly (a) memorize or (b) live up to all the verses in Matthew 5 & 6:

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So simple. So true. So reassuring. Just seek God first and He will take care of the rest.

But I digress. Where we are now is Matthew 7:1-6.

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

There it is. I’m not even sure what to say about this yet, so I’ll let you go to my friend Cara’s blog if you are interested in more on this.

Now it’s your turn! Please post your verses from this year and last, and any comments, prayer requests or encouragements. Thank you as always for participating in this little community. It has been quite a journey, and I’m glad to have had your company!

The Lord bless you and keep you, dear Siestas,

Christy

Verse 18

Happy beautiful fall day, Siestas!

Did anyone have a chance to watch Beth Moore’s simulcast today? I’d love to hear about it!

Wow, 18 verses, that’s nine months of scripture memory work! If you have made it this far (and I think most everyone who has been posting has made it this far at least TWICE!), GOOD FOR YOU! And I mean good for you, as in good work! And good for you, as in, who can even imagine the amazing impact that memorizing 18 verses from God’s own Holy Word can have on a person and the ripple effect emanating from them? Twice??? Keep up the great work!

Last year at this time I found myself very anxious. Many changes outside my control were made in our homeschooling organization which were causing me a great deal of stress, plus my Dad’s battle with cancer was going downhill rapidly. The reality that he would probably die soon was overwhelming to me. So last September I chose some familiar verses from Philippians, 4:6-7:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

These were and are a concise source of considerable comfort. Of course I don’t take them to mean that by our praying the Lord automatically gives us everything we want, rather that when we truly give our requests to God, He gives us His peace in return, which can seem incomprehensible in many situations. I experienced this myself, and I have seen it time and again in those around me. Oh it can be hard, I admit. To present a request for the healing of a loved one or whatever else is burdening us with thanksgiving… only with God is this possible. But He does not fail to bless us in return.

I find it interesting that the current verses we are working on in the Sermon on the Mount echo the same sentiment:

Matthew 6:25-34:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

That is a long passage, and it overlaps with last week’s, plus probably goes past where we will end before my next post, but I think this is a good time to reflect on all these verses. It’s a time when people are worrying about elections and the economy and international political strife, among many other more personal things. It is good to be reminded that this is not our home, and that we are not supposed to worry. Jesus said so.

This weekend I was involved a discussion about the current climate of world affairs and the troubled times we live in, and someone I love very dearly and respect immensely said this:

“It is God’s world. He has a plan. And evil does not win.”

Amen.

Love you Siestas! Please post below! I am reading and thankful for your comments even if it is taking me forever to respond!

Verse 17

Happy Labor Day weekend, Siestas! We are on our annual camping trip in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, enjoying the sound of the rushing river, the sights of the beautiful canyon and wilderness, and the conveniences of electricity, running water and wifi in our tent camper. My kind of camping.

Last year at this time I was camping in this very same spot, but I had just returned from a weekend reunion with Bible study sisters in California. We had planned that reunion shortly after starting the memory verse challenge in January 2011. It was a blessed time, highlighted for me by a visit to our old home church, the 1st Presbyterian Church of Hollister. Perhaps those of us in attendance were primed and ready to be moved because of the joyous and uplifting nature of our reunion, but it seemed as though every song and every word and every precious word from the Scripture was speaking directly to us. I chose my next memory verses from that sermon.

Romans 12:10-12

Be devoted to one another in brotherly (sisterly) love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (parenthetical mine)

I love these verses. And I love how God’s Living Word gives you just the right verse at just the right time when you need it. Have you ever felt that?

This year we continue with the Sermon on the Mount. It hardly seems possible that we are nearing the end of Chapter 6, and that Chapter 7 contains the fewest verses of the 3 chapters we will memorize this year. Last time I shared that I was behind in my memory work, but with the return to school and some semblance of a routine (harried though it is), I have been able to catch up. I don’t feel confident in all of Chapter 6, but I know that it will come with regular practice. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment I get from working on the scriptures and committing them to memory, but even more, I cherish the knowledge that God has blessed and will continue to bless His Word hidden in my heart, and that those Words will bear fruit in my life as I try to live by them and share them with those around me.

Matthew 6:22-26

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Though the memorizing is coming more easily, the understanding does not always follow right away. I have been pondering these verses, particularly those about light and darkness. It helps to read the commentary I have been using, written by John Stott, Google other insight (like this very helpful piece by John Piper), and to follow my friend Cara’s blog, because she is doing a good deal more research and study on these verses, but sometimes just meditating on them eventually brings light and understanding which I believe comes directly from the Father. I also believe that He can and does use the same words to say different things to people, and even gives different meanings to the same words to me at different times. What I know for certain is that I have never been touched or moved or inspired more by any words more than His.

The Lord bless you and keep you! Please post your verses and comments below, and thank you as always for your company on this journey!

Verse 16

It does not even seem possible that it’s August 15 already. Anybody else feel that way? Where did the summer go?

Last year at this time I chose a familiar passage, Galatians 5:22-23:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I think I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed by my previous verses and their impact (Romans 8:38-89) and needed something gentle, a loving reminder of what could come from abiding in the Spirit. Thank you Lord!

I was recently blessed to spend a long weekend with 4 very dear friends who I first came to know through Bible study in Hollister, California, and more recently reconnected with over scripture memorization. They all accepted the challenge to hide God’s word in their hearts with me last year, and out of that commitment was born what we hope will be annual reunions for years to come. Our time together was so sweet and uplifting in so many ways, inspiring, relaxing, challenging, inspirational, but above all blessed by the Lord’s Spirit. We sang, prayed, studied Scriptures, talked, and even shared a “Jesus feast,” comprised solely of foods that Jesus would have eaten. I am so blessed to know that this precious, unforgettable time came out of the simple but powerful idea to commit God’s Word to our hearts.

This year, as at this time last year, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed by the activity of the summer, and I confess, I am behind in the passages I am working on now. I should be memorizing the following:

Matthew 6:16-21

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I haven’t even begun to work on committing these verses to memory yet. So if you are feeling discouraged because you are not where you had hoped or planned to be right now, don’t despair. Keep going, the Lord will honor your efforts. School starts for us next week, and with that my routine will become more regular and hopefully less harried. I know that every moment I devote to working on these scriptures will produce the fruit of the Spirit in my life, so I will not give up. Satan would love for me to say, “Can’t do it, too far behind, throwing in the towel,” because he knows the power that will come from God’s mighty word being imprinted on my heart or anyone else’s. I won’t give him the satisfaction. Instead I will trust in the Lord and lean not on my own understanding, in all ways lean on and acknowledge his loving guidance, and allow him to make my paths straight. (Prov 3:5-6, paraphrase mine). Will you join me?

Please post your verses below, and any struggles, and any encouragement!

The Lord bless you and keep you, make his face shine upon you, and give you peace.

Verse 15

Buon giorno! My daughter and I just returned last night from a mission/choir trip to Italy. What an amazing experience! But more on that later, for now, our verses!

Last year I chose Romans 8:38-39:

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 At this time last year it was becoming clear that my Dad was not likely to survive his battle with cancer. We knew that God could, at any moment, offer a miracle of healing, but we began to reconcile ourselves to the likelihood that it was not going to play out that way.  It was a difficult time for me. I had experienced loss from death, but never so near. My Dad and I had always been very close, and I was having a great deal of trouble bearing the thought of losing him. These verses, along with all the rest I had committed to memory by this time last year, helped me beyond measure, because I began to ask myself “What is the worst thing that can happen to a person? Is it really death?” And these particular verses helped me begin to believe that the answer was not death, but separation from Christ, whether in life or death. This is an incredibly freeing concept. I have asked myself many times since then, in much less dire circumstances than losing a dear close relative, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” And the answer is always, “Well since I have Christ in me, and there is nothing, including death, life, angels, demons, the present, the future, any height, and depth, nor anything else in all creation that can separate me from Him, there really isn’t any such thing as the worst thing.” I can’t even express how much this helped me in facing my dear Dad’s passing.

This year, we continue with the Sermon on the Mount, through the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-15:

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, 
hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,
 your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Powerful, beautiful. My friend Cara provides wonderful insight into these and the preceding verses in her blog, please feel free to join in the discussion.

Thank you again for your participation in this adventure, please post your verses and comments below. The Lord bless you and keep you!

Verse 14 – Grace and Prayer

So sorry ladies! The summer is getting away from me and I am late in posting again.

Last year at this time my verse was Hebrews 4:16

16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I took these verses from Ann Voskamp’s blog. I can’t even find it or remember exactly why it spoke to me then, but this verse has not ceased speaking to me since. Grace. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? God’s bountiful grace for us in the form of the greatest gift ever given, the life of His own son, Jesus Christ. In light of that, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence…”

This year, I continue in Matthew 6, memorizing Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount with 4 other amazing ladies, with whom I had the glorious opportunity to break bread and share the Word this past weekend. What a memorable time of laughing, learning and sharing how the Word is changing us from the inside out.

Matthew 6:5-8

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

My only comment about this passage is on the phrase “when you pray…” Jesus did not say, “if you pray,” He said “when.” So let’s get to it! If you’d like more discussion on these verses, please click here.

God bless each and every one of you. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

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