Monthly Archives: April 2012

Verse 8, and my heart laid bare

At this time last year my Dad was battling lung cancer for the second time. He had just been given his diagnosis and a pretty grim prognosis. He was the pastor of a small church, having attended seminary in his 50s after a long career in the Air Force and another brief but very successful career as a mortgage broker. He loved to preach and teach God’s Word. On Palm Sunday, he was to give his last sermon. He was planning to retire after Easter Sunday and begin intensive treatments for his cancer, but Easter Sunday’s service was a cantata and he would have been singing, not preaching. But the weekend of his last sermon, the tumor in his lungs wrapped tendrils around his vocal chords and he lost his voice suddenly and almost completely. He had to deliver his last sermon in a whisper, and he wasn’t able to sing the Lord’s praises on Easter Sunday. I can’t imagine how painful and humbling this must have been for him.

This also meant that we couldn’t talk by phone anymore, it was impossible to understand him, frustrating for both of us. Thank the Lord for the technology of FaceTime to bridge the gap! We both had iPhones and could video chat with our phones. Even though I still couldn’t hear him, I could see his face, and being able to read his lips while he whispered made communication possible. It was a great blessing to me because I felt so helpless being so far away (he was in Missouri and I am in Colorado).  So shortly after he lost his voice completely, I came across these verses. Through God’s grace alone I memorized them almost instantly and was able to share them with my Dad via FaceTime. They became sort of a theme for us during this difficult time, and we would quote portions to each other for encouragement. They are a comfort to me still, and probably the single most important verses for carrying me through the ordeal of watching my beloved Dad suffer and die.

2 Corinthians 4:6-9, 16-18

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

At I write this I have just returned from California where I attended the funeral of a dear friend who endured a lifetime of health struggles and suffering. It is so encouraging to me to know that both my sweet Lorraine and my darling Dad believed with all their hearts that though outwardly they were wasting away, inwardly they were being renewed day by day., and that their light and momentary troubles, which to me didn’t seem light at all, were achieving for them an eternal glory that far outweighed them all. Thank you Lord for the comfort of these verses, a year ago, today, and in any and all trials to come. It’s all light and momentary, and achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs any trial.

This year in scripture memory has been so different, working on Jesus’s sermon on the mount with a group of women rather than choosing verses which spoke to me first, then I committed to memory. This year I work at memorizing the verses, sometimes for weeks, before I even feel that I understand their meaning. But when they become clear, Wow. So incredibly powerful. I suspect that this year’s verses will change my life in ways I can’t even imagine right now. If you are interested in joining in the discussion of this amazing sermon, please click here.

Matthew 5:25-30

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

It’s your turn, sisters. Please post the verses you are working on now, how they are moving you, and the verses you memorized last year if you have done this before. Thank you so much for reading, I look forward to hearing from you! I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

 

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Verse 7, and a challenge

Happy April! It’s a stunning day here in Colorado, blue skies, warm temperatures, and snow in the forecast. Love spring in the Rockies!

So it’s time for our 7th verses! Last year at this time my verse was Psalm 139:17-18:

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

My dear friend Linda had chosen these beautiful verses, and they spoke to me at the time as well, but their meaning really made a lasting impression on me later in the year when I found myself on a beach in Florida, vacationing with my family. As I picked up a handful of sand and let it run through my hands, the words ran through my mind, and I was utterly overwhelmed by God’s love for and thoughts about us. I kept a small bottle of sand as a reminder that we are never alone, never without the love and protection of our heavenly Father. So reassuring.

Here’s a new tool to help with memorizing your verses, Scripture Typer! I heard about this a couple of weeks ago from two different sources (thanks, Lynette!), so I finally gave it a try, and I found it to be very fun and helpful. It’s a different way to work on committing verses to memory, by typing them, and in my opinion, every different way you work on them helps get them buried deeper in your heart! Give it a try! Also, you can upload your verses in whatever version you are using, and you can edit out verse references or punctuation if that makes it easier for you to remember and type accurately.

This year, continuing with the Sermon on the Mount, our verses are getting more specific, and more challenging.

Matthew 5:21-24

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

In discussing these verses with some friends who are also memorizing this passage, I am finding that we all seem to have some sort of familial conflict, whether it’s with a sibling, a parent, a child. I don’t think that any of us are exempt from this, and I don’t think it matters what the source of our conflict is, if we are truly trying to not just learn the words of Jesus but put them into practice, we have to do this. We can’t go to church on Sunday and give our money and sing His praises with anger in our hearts toward anyone. And that doesn’t mean stop going to church and stop giving. It means a change of heart, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

I’m not saying it’s easy. But I am challenging you today, on April 1, 2012, if there is someone in your life with whom you are angry or in conflict (even if you think it’s their fault, not yours), make a commitment to pray for that person daily for one month, until May 1, and to attempt to be reconciled with that person. I believe that if you ask the Lord to soften your heart toward them, and you give your anger to Him, He will give you the desire of your heart. You can share the source of your conflict in the comments below or keep it private, just let us know that you will be joining in the challenge if you like. I am doing it, and I’m so excited to see what the Lord is going to do in my heart. Because if you decide to do this, be prepared for that to be where the biggest change occurs.

Love you ladies, thank you so much for being a part of this community!