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

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13 thoughts on “Verse 20

  1. Autumn says:

    I just decided today to start reading your blog posts. Wow, timely messages (last year’s verse and this new one) for me. Also, I like how well they relate to each other. I don’t know if I will get them both memorized. I am going to start with the new one. Do you have any suggestions for the mechanics of memorization, what works for you?

    • peggylangille says:

      Autumn, I started last January and my suggestion is to go easy in the beginning and take a verse that has meaning to you and just work it on a little each day and then as you get more comfortable just add to it. Last year once I had the new verse in my mind, I would go back over each of my verses every day to keep them fresh in my mind. It really has been life transforming for me.

  2. christypond says:

    Hi Autumn, I can’t tell you how delighted I am to see you here! 🙂 This is a very big place to start! I think this was my toughest passage last year, but you can do it!

    My recommendations on mechanics — first, have the verse(s) you are working on in a highly visible and accessible place (I have mine on my phone and in a notebook). Last year when I started I would jump on Facebook if I had a few minutes to kill in line or anywhere. I moved FB to the back page of my apps and put my verses where FB had been. This doesn’t mean that I never go on FB on my phone anymore, but that I would at least review my verses first. You can also put them on index cards in places where you will remember to review them.

    Also, try to review them at a time when you have peace and quiet, at the same time each day. First thing in the morning works best for me, or when there is a time I am alone either in the car or on a walk. Make that few minutes a priority to spend alone with God and His Word.

    And most importantly, don’t get stressed about it! It’s a good and wonderful thing to do, only good can come out of your doing it. But if you fall short of your goal, don’t be hard on yourself. Just pick it back up when and where you are.

    That should get you started! The Lord will honor your efforts!!!

  3. peggylangille says:

    Preach it Siesta! I didn’t realize you had all those rules for yourself last year. I had no rules — I was just happy to actually be doing it rather than quitting a week into it, like I had so many times before. You also did much longer sections than I did — it’s that over achieving gene you have 🙂

    My verse last year was Eph 6:13 — Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

    Praise the Lord that Cara is back because I’m still stuck trying to memorize the verses about the speck and plank and so I’m behind but now she is back it will force me to move forward knowing she will be sending us more to learn. But maybe it is a mental block because it is easier for me to point out the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and as you said once this stuff is internalized it changes you.

    • Linda says:

      Good Morning Sisters!
      Well, I haven’t been very disciplined lately. Dang that enemy! Christy – I think I will use some of your methods. This morning I chose my verse and went to write it in my journal and realized this was the same verse that I chose last year at exactly this time! Do ya think the Lord is trying to tell me something?! Sad. I have gotten out of the habit of making this a priority. Please keep me in prayer. So the one I did choose for this session is:
      Acts 4:12
      Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
      I chose this one because our former church, the First Presbyterian Church, USA, is updating their doctrine. They now claim that Jesus Christ is A way to the Father – not THE WAY, but a way. And that he is “unique”. The FPC here is splitting up over this and I have some dear sisters who are choosing to stay and I guess therefore accept this amendment. Please keep the entire FPC, USA in prayer.
      I just don’t get how anyone can call themselves a Christian, but not claim Christ as the one and only, true Son of God and the one and only way to the Father. The enemy is deceiving them and they don’t know it. I think I’ll get this verse tattooed on my forehead and cut off all of my bangs!! OK, calming down here – but only a bit!
      So my verse last year at this time was:
      Eph. 3:20-21
      Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
      I chose this verse last year because the Lord had provided for our son to receive residential psychiatric treatment. We had tried for months to find assistance to pay for his treatment and everywhere we turned, the door was shut. We finally (duh!) put it in His hands and he made provision for 6 of the 7 months of treatment. God is so good! And those 4 words are really so inadequate.
      Love you all.

      • christypond says:

        Oh dear Linda, I’m so sad to hear about this chance in the PCUSA’s doctrine I could weep. I tried to find information about it online but couldn’t, can you direct me somewhere? Interestingly, I am involved in a private conversation about this very thing, whether you can be a Christian without Christ. This breaks my heart. I am adding your verse to my list for next year.

        I love hearing you share your amazing story about God’s provision in your son’s treatment. Gives me goosebumps remembering hearing about it the first time.

        Love you so much, thank you for coming and posting. You are not the only one losing steam near the end, take heart! Rest in the Lord, your strength and shield and comfort and rock and redeemer… Okay I’ll stop there.

        Love you girl!

    • christypond says:

      You are so funny! Yep, I started out with all kinds of rules but ended up breaking them all anyway. That’s just how I roll. 🙂

      I was the same way, just happy not to have quit. Because I had carried the mantra “I just can’t memorize Bible verses” around for too long. So glad we both stuck with it!!!

      • christypond says:

        Oops, Peggy, this comment was for you but it didn’t show up with yours so I must have done something wrong!

        Anyway I love you to pieces dear girl, and it just makes me smile to think how God worked it out that not only did He bless us both with complete heart transformations and closer walks with Him through this scripture memory thing, but that He also brought us together and blessed us with each other’s friendship. And Cara’s too!

        Love love love to you!!!

  4. caragab says:

    thanks for all the kind words. sorry i’ve been absent from the blog for a while. last year at this time i was memorizing John 10:10. I memorized the ESV version:

    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

    I picked it because I was feeling overwhelmed and wanted a short, familiar verse to memorize. I’m at that point now as well, but no short verses in the SOTM. still working on all the judgement verses and pearls to pigs (Matthew 7:1-6).

    thanks for doing this christy, it is an encouragement to me. sorry i don’t have anything more insightful or eloquent to offer.

    • Christy says:

      Just so glad to have you here, Cara, and please never forget that if not for your leadership and inspiration, there would be no “here” here.

      Maybe the verses aren’t getting shorter at the end of SOTM but some of them are pretty familiar. I have the feeling that it’s all going to gel.

      Can’t tell you how much I love you and appreciate you, dear friend! And can’t wait to hear from you tomorrow! 🙂

  5. Hello dear siestas,

    You’ve probably wondered if i was still around or not. I confess that i missed a verse but i’m not going to give up. It’s interesting Christy that you you set rules for yourself. I guess i did too in a way. I had planned to do larger sections of scripture, broken up over several sessions. Don’t know if i just didn’t want to have to learn them all at one time or just make it easier on myself in trying to “figure out” what i’d be memorizing. That’s what i’ve been doing this year too but with my “miss”, i’m switching gears. I believe that God brought Isa. 26:3 to mind for me to work on “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.” This whole journey of selling our house and buying has shown how tiny my faith in God is. I have worried and stressed and felt like it was up to my own efforts and so forth. Then this verse was the Youversion daily verse recently and it definitely convicted me. The peace comes because one trusts in God.

    Last year, i was starting my last “chunk” of verses, beginning with Eph. 3:16 I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.

    Update on the house, we sold our house, hallelujah! It closed on 10/16. Since then, we’ve been looking and had our hearts broken when “our” ideal house went to pending the day before we went to look at it with our realtor. We had been going back and forth trying to figure out how to accommodate my aging mother, within our means and so forth. Anyway, realizing that Mom living with us was probably not going to be the best situation for her, we did find a house that fits our family and by the grace of God, our bid (from among 3) was chosen. The house is being inspected today and Lord willing if everything goes well, it should close on 11/29. Needless to say that i’m totally exhausted and there is still work to be done. Relying on His strength and grace for each day.

    Hope you all are kept in perfect peace and strengthened with power through His Spirit 🙂
    love,
    Delores

    • christypond says:

      Hi Delores!

      So good to hear from you, definitely better late than never. 🙂 Praise the Lord on your house sale, I’ll be praying for His perfect plan to come through soon and give you His perfect peace!!!

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who was making rules. But also glad to know that despite our not living up to our own rules, we remain steadfast. You go girl!

      Love you Delores!

      Christy

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