July 1

Hello dear sisters,

We have made it halfway through the year! If you are choosing one verse on the 1st and 15th of each month, you have 12 verses under your belt–congratulations! I would love to hear from you how memorizing scripture has affected you, either recently or in the past. And I will renew this invitation later in the year, but I want to plant the seed now. Please consider taking Beth’s Scripture Memory Challenge next year, starting in January 2013, and join me in traveling to Houston in January 2014 for a Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration that will bless and inspire you!

Last year at this time I chose Numbers 6:24-26:

24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

A friend had sent me these verses, saying that she was praying them over me as a blessing. It touches me to this day to think of anyone praying this beautiful prayer over me, and I have tried to share it with as many people around me as I can, and that now includes you. Please pass it on!

This year in the Sermon on the Mount, we have finished Matthew 5, and begin working on Matthew 6:

1“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

My friend Cara, who is leading the group of women with whom I am memorizing these verses, has a particularly lovely post on these verses on her blog. Please feel free to join in the conversation by clicking here.

And now, I give to you with all my heart the blessing that I was blessed with last year, and that (I think not by coincidence), our pastor graced us with this very morning:

“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.”

I pray that you take the time to linger over these words, let them soak in, and feel the Lord’s love for you in them. And then post your thoughts and verses from this year and last below. 

Verse 12

Halfway there! I am a day late, my apologies! The summer is starting out to be quite hectic rather than restful as I might have hoped. But we press on!

I woke up on June 15 last year without a clue as to what my memory verse for that day was going to be. I was reading through the book of Proverbs in June, one chapter each day, so I opened up my Bible to Proverbs 15, and there it was:

Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Boy do I need this right now. In the midst of a harried start to the summer my temper has been short, and my harsh words are stirring up anger in my children. Lord, I ask you to help me be gentle in my words and actions, and to spread love among my family, not anger. Because the truth is I reserve my harsh words for those closest to me. So glad for this reminder today!

This year we continue with the sermon on the mount, coming to the end of Matthew Chapter 5.

Matthew 5:43-48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Please click here for a more in-depth discussion of this passage, and even more importantly, please join me in truly trying to love everyone around us as Jesus did. It is not easy, but He himself has called us to it!

Thank you so much for coming and sharing your verses and comments here. The Lord bless and keep each and every one of you!

Verse 11

Wow, can it be June already? Today was our last day of school/first day of summer vacation, all rolled into one, after one crazy hectic week. Whew!

I remember that last year at this time my family was embarking on a long summer vacation. I had mixed feelings about this, looking forward to a great trip with lots of fun beach destinations, but concerns were looming large about my Dad’s health. He was in the midst of a heated cancer battle, including daily radiation treatments, massive chemotherapy doses, and long, uncomfortable car rides back and forth between home and the hospital. He was always in the forefront of my mind. My verse for June 1 last year came straight out of my favorite devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and it hit me again this morning.

Isaiah 41:13

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

 13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

This verse was perfect for me, and helped me to remember to trust that everything was in God’s capable hands. Still one of my favorites. If you don’t have a copy of Jesus Calling, I can’t recommend another book more strongly, other than the Bible itself, for a daily dose of love and wisdom straight from God’s Holy Word to you.

This year, in the Sermon on the Mount, we are in a tough passage about turning the other cheek.

Matthew 5:38-42

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

There is nothing easy about this, but Jesus never said “Come, follow me, it will be easy!” In fact, later in the Sermon He says,

”But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14

Click HERE to learn much more about the Sermon on the Mount.

Please post your own verse for this year below, and any verses you were working on last year, or just say hello. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each one of you!

Verse 10

Hello Sweet Siestas! Thank you so much for coming here!

Last year at this time I was reading a wonderful book called Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, and in it he suggested different ways to get into the Word. One was to choose a book of the Bible and read it daily for a month. I chose the book of James. This was a wonderful exercise, and I experimented with reading it in different translations and listening to audio versions on my favorite mobile Bible app (YouVersion). By the middle of the month I was ready to choose a memory verse from this book, so I went with James 3:17-18.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

I like this passage very much because I often find myself in the role of peacemaker. It’s rarely easy, but these verses are a very encouraging reminder of what the Lord’s wisdom looks like. And this ties in so closely with what we are learning in the Sermon on the Mount, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, having pure hearts, being peacemakers.

So now in the Sermon on the Mount we are working on truth.

Matthew 5:33-37
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Speak in such a way that those who know you know that you speak truth. Jesus sure has a way of getting to the heart of the matter.

Love you Siestas, and I thank you so much for stopping by! Please leave even a short hello below even if you don’t have time to post your verses.

Verse 9

Verse 9

Happy May, dear friends! I pray that this month finds you basking in the beauty and promise of spring! New life, resurrection, and joy!

Last year at this time I chose the following verses from Colossians, Chapter 4, verses 2, 5 & 6:

2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

My dear friend (and the one who roped me into this scripture memory thing last year) Cara had chosen these verses in April and I loved them. They are such a good reminder to always be careful about how we talk with those around us, anyone we might encounter. These verses have helped me hold my tongue in situations where I might have thought it was okay to lash out a little at a stranger or be a bit snippy (particularly in situations where I felt I was being treated unfairly in a customer service scenario). I am getting much better at being pleasant to strangers and acquaintances no matter the circumstances, and I feel that I owe that improvement to memorizing these verses.

Now before I start sounding too puffed up, let me say two important things. 1. I still get it wrong sometimes with “outsiders.” 2. I very frequently get it wrong with “insiders,” those inside my closest circles, those nearest to me (relatives, people living under my roof, etc.). So much room for improvement there.

This year in the Sermon on the Mount we are knee deep in some tough stuff. Last time I posted verses about adultery, lust and gouging. Now we’re looking at Jesus’s take on divorce. Ouch.

Matthew 5:31-32

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

I don’t even know what to say about this. Divorce is hard. Marriage can be hard. Jesus wants us to love one another, not hurt one another, to put others above ourselves. It’s not supposed to be easy. If you would like to join a more in-depth discussion of these verses, click here.

Please post your verses below, and any you were working on last year, along with your commentary about both! And feel free to comment on each other’s verses. I have not been very consistent about commenting and I apologize! But I love the community that has formed around the Lord’s Word here!

Thank you, and may the Lord bless you and keep you!

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.

 

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!

Verse 6

Dear Sisters,

Welcome! Thank you so much for joining us on the journey to go deeper in our walk with Jesus by committing God’s word to our hearts!

Last year at this time I chose the following verses:

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV1984

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I had written this reference down in my spiral when I heard it quoted by the quarterback of Texas Christian University after he led his team to an unexpected and electrifying 21-19 victory in the 2011 Rose Bowl. Yes, I’m a football fan. But even more than that, I’m a fan of people who stand up in front of a camera and microphone when the world is looking at them and give glory to God in the highest. It gives me chills even now writing about it.

I love these verses, and I think of them often. Especially verse 7. Truth be told, I forget verse 6 more often than not. This year my word is Love. Next year I think it should be Humility. And this may be my theme verse. I’m good about casting my anxiety on God, and I know that He cares for me, but too often I can’t wait for Him to lift me up in due time and I forget to humble myself.

My new verses from the Sermon on the Mount are regarding the law, Matthew 5:17-20:

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

These are hard verses, challenging to read and comprehend, and even more difficult to memorize. I am thankful for the experience of memorizing scripture last year or I might be a little intimidated by some of these. But the exciting thing is that I know from last year’s experience that by committing these verses to memory, meditating on them, studying them, I will be much more deeply affected than I have in the past just by reading alone. I pray that you are seeing the same kind of fruit from your memorization efforts!

Thank you for joining in on the discussion! I look forward to hearing about your verses and watching you encourage and love each other!

The Lord bless and keep each and every one of you,

Christy

Verse 5

Hello dear ladies!

I’m a little late today, I usually try to post first thing in the morning. The short month caught up with me! So it’s time to post our 5th verses or passages for the year. Last year at this time my church had a missions conference and I attended a session called Living Missionally with Children. It was and is an issue close to my heart because it is very important to me that my children grow up not only with an appreciation of how blessed they are, but also with a desire to help those around them. The key verse for this session was

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NIV1984)

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

I loved the image of talking about these things with our children wherever we are, all the time. And oftentimes, wherever we are at this time of year is skiing. So I mentally added to this passage, “…when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up and when you are on the ski lift.” And as it turns out, time on the ski lift has been great for talking with my kids about things, including God and how we are supposed to love him and show that love to those around us.

Up to this point last year the memory work had been largely that, an exercise. This is where it began to get really personal for me, and where the Word in me began to take an effect that I could see and feel. Reciting my previous verses and working on my new verses each day was really instilling in me a deeper love for and understanding of God’s holy word. This is where I started to feel it really take root.

And practically speaking, this is when I realized I needed a mnemonic to help in my memorizing efforts. Each day I would try to recite all my verses to myself, but I was having trouble getting started. I tried numbering them, but that didn’t really have any meaning and didn’t stick. So I came up with this: E 1C 1T J D. Anyone want to guess what that means? Yes, it’s the first letters of each reference. Up to this point my verses had come from Ephesians, 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, John and Deuteronomy. I could count these 5 off on my fingers with my mnemonic and recite them from memory, using either my spiral or the app in my phone to check myself if I had trouble. And at this time it was only taking me about 2 minutes to run through all my verses. I know because I timed myself. I don’t know why I tend to focus on the numbers at times, but I do, and in this case it helped me to think, “This isn’t hard! It’s only 2 minutes out of my day!” It was encouraging to me to realize that. And then I started saying them to myself more often since it was such a tiny chunk of time. I found all this encouraging. I hope some of it is of use to anyone who might be struggling at this point!

Now for the new! SOTM Siestas, you may wish to disregard this part, lest you become confused. Continuing with Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, which has been just amazing, we have finished with the beatitudes and are in the passage with the twin metaphors of salt and light:

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

I could go on and on about what I’m learning from these verses, but I won’t, since I’m doing that already here. Please feel free to visit and join in on the conversation! It has been so very illuminating. Ha ha.

Also, if you are interested in chiming in on our Made to Crave conversations, please click here. This book is opening my eyes in many ways as well! It’s not too late to join in! Thank you Lord for Siestas who are reading and learning from it with me!

Your turn! Please comment below with your verses, and continue to encourage and lift up one another. If you would like to be notified automatically of any additional comments or responses after you post, you can click “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.” Then you don’t have to keep checking back to see who else has commented. Or you don’t have to feel bad if you neglect or forget (but please don’t feel obligated!). In the same vein, if you would like to be automatically notified when I post, so that you don’t have to keep checking back (for example on days when I am late), click “Follow” at the top of your screen. Now to be honest, I don’t like that it says Follow. I wish it said, “Join this community.” But it doesn’t, and there’s nothing I can do about it, except ask you to ignore that.

I love love love you ladies! Here’s a sneak peak of another of last year’s verses, it’s been on my mind since we started studying salt and light. I give it to you now as a blessing:

Romans 12:10-12

10 Be devoted to one another in sisterly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Made to Crave

Dear Friends,

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. I am relatively new to the tradition of observing Lent, so I won’t at all profess to be an expert in the area. In fact, last year was the first in which I ever attempted an observance of the season. If you too are new to this tradition, or would like to learn more, I found some helpful information here, at biblegateway.com

This year I decided that in addition to giving up something for Lent, I would read a book by Lysa TerKeurst called “Made to Crave, Satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food.” It has come highly recommended, and I’m delighted that a number of friends have indicated an interest in joining me. If you have read this book, or are planning to read it, or would simply like to make any kind of comment concerning Lent or desiring God, please do so below. And as always, I encourage you to make comments on each other’s comments!

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, let us also 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.”  I John 4:10 – 12

In His Love,

Christy