Tag Archives: the Bible

Let’s Memorize More Scripture.

Recently, I’ve been trying to memorize more Scripture. I know, 31 years old is probably pretty late to that game right? I grew up in the church, and I’ve always known a few verses, but hey, I didn’t do Bible Drill like some other people I know. I’ve never been very good at memorizing anything at all, but I’ve been trying. And guess what? It’s been working. Think you can’t do it? Keep reading.

There are many places in the Bible that suggest we learn His Word, hide it in our hearts (Ps. 119:11), let it dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16), and meditate on it day and night (Josh. 1:8). I don’t know about you, but I can’t meditate on something day and night unless it’s already in my head. I mean, my Bible’s a little too heavy to have in my hand all day.

I actually started memorizing Scripture because I’d read an article by a woman who’d been having trouble sleeping. Her insomnia was awful, and so she took to memorizing Psalms when she couldn’t sleep. She started one at a time, and when she couldn’t sleep, she’d recite the Psalm. At the time that I happened upon the article, I was having some of the same issues. Okay, God. I see You leading me toward this. SO, I began memorizing a Psalm. Which one did I start with? The one I already knew best, obviously. Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want….

You know at least some of this one, I’m sure. So that was my starting place. I began reading it daily, taking it apart, piece by piece. There are many songs about it, which unfortunately (and surprisingly) made it more difficult to learn. The songs don’t usually go word for word, ya know? But I began to meditate on it, day, and mostly at night. I also began to use an app called Verses, suggested to me by one of the pastors at my church. It’s a free, user-friendly app specifically for memorizing more Scripture. (Disclaimer: it comes with the KJV as the default translation, and you have to pay for the other translations. Sorry.) There are several different methods (I like to call them levels.) to go through as you learn a verse or a passage, and there’s even an option to start with one verse, and keep adding to it. It’s an extremely helpful tool, simple to use, and a good place to start if you’re new to memorizing Scripture.

I also took to copying the more difficult verses (read: ones I was stuck on) down in my journal, reciting them out loud, and listening to my Bible app read them aloud to me. If that’s not meditating on it day and night, I don’t know what is. But as I learned it more and more of Psalm 23, I began to say it to myself when I couldn’t sleep. Eventually I took to going through the entire Psalm when I lay awake in the night, and it quieted my buzzing brain to do so. I found it calming, and the more I used it to lull me back to sleep, the more I couldn’t remember even getting to the last verse of the Psalm, because I’d fallen back to sleep.

I’m not saying that memorizing Scripture is so boring that you’ll fall asleep.

What I’m saying is it can change you. Psalm 23 is all about the Lord leading us into stillness with His comforting presence, and providing for our every need. What I needed was sleep, and He was providing it, even as I spoke those words over myself. Isn’t that beautiful?

When He asks us to let His Word dwell in us richly, that’s what He means! His Word is living and active, and it is possible to let it transform us through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). That is GOOD NEWS! We don’t have to conform to the patterns of this world – Praise Jesus! – because He has better things ahead for us than what this world has become.

God Loves Celebrations

This piece originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

I’ve been privileged to take part in a great many celebrations. From weddings and anniversaries, baptisms and birthday parties, to dedications of babies and even memorial services, I have been a part of countless celebrations. Honoring relationships, accomplishments, and simply life itself, it is a beautiful thing to celebrate our blessings, the people we love, and just being together. I believe that God gave us the gift of celebration on purpose, that He is pleased when we join together in fellowship and celebration. It is part of the life abundant that He came to give us!

Perhaps the piece of scripture that’s most obviously a celebration is Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. We know the whole story well, but here’s the best part: “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:22-24)

We aren’t always celebrating the return of a beloved person back into our lives, and we aren’t always killing fatted calves to do so. But if this parable, a picture of God’s love for His wandering children, is full of uninhibited celebration and holding nothing back from the son who was lost and then found, then it is fitting we should celebrate, pull out the stops, and show our love by sharing joy in this way!

Along with the countless other feasts, convocation days, and dedications mentioned throughout Scripture, the most incredible example of God-honoring celebration is found, as you might expect, at the birth of Jesus. There were no invitations sent, or caterers booked. There wasn’t a cake or 10-piece band. There was, however, a gorgeous star put up in the sky for just such an occasion, as well as a singing multitude of the heavenly host, and the proudest parents there have ever been.

This picture of the first-ever Jesus-worshipers is still my favorite image. Surprised, unkempt shepherds, used to hanging out in the fields with their sheep. New parents, knowing they had just experienced something special, but not really knowing the full extent. Angels (Full stop. Can you imagine angels at your next baby dedication?) coming out in hordes to announce the birth of Jesus, singing the first songs of praise, and filling the skies with the glory of the Lord. If that doesn’t seem like a picture of a father celebrating his son, you might need to look again. Jesus had been sent by a Father who was celebrating not only him, but the rest of His sons and daughters who would be saved by this Son of Righteousness. A truly happy Father, who was seeing His redemptive plan begin.

Hear It Differently

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Have you ever listened to a song you’ve heard a thousand times before (you know the ones: they’re on the radio, friends hum them while they work, and your kids even sing a phrase or two here and there), but one time when you’re listening, you think, “Wow! I’ve never paid attention to those words before! Has that always been the line?”

That happened to me this past Sunday. To be more specific, it happened to me several times. You see, I’m a worship leader. And the set that was planned for my service that morning was one full of trusty favorites. Several of them I’d been singing for years, one is a newer song I’ve sung at one service or another every week since Christmas, and the set also included one song I helped write (I wrote a bit about that here). But all of a sudden, these songs were falling on fresh ears. Thankfully, it wasn’t in a “forgot all the words” sort of way, but a “never thought about it that way before” sort of way.

For example, we sang Paul Baloche’s arrangement of the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. While it’s a hymn that I grew up singing, and I know almost every word by heart, for some reason, I heard the words anew. This verse: And when I think that God His Son not sparing/sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in/ that on the cross, my burden gladly bearing/He bled and died to take away my sin. I mean, that’s crazy! God sent His very Son to take our sins. Jesus gladly bore them for us on the cross, because he knew it would save us. Who wouldn’t sing about that?

Or in Hillsong’s “Oceans”, it was this part in the bridge: Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander/and my faith will be made stronger/in the presence of my Savior. Being in the presence of my Savior will be what strengthens my faith. I could have that reminder again and again, and it would convict me every time. Oh, you of little faith, enter into His presence, and that little faith will grow.

I have this same experience reading the Bible a lot. I’ll flip through pages, and read something I’ve read a hundred times before. But every time, I read it differently. Maybe it’s that my perspective has shifted, due to life circumstances. Maybe it’s that the Lord is showing me something new about a particular passage. Maybe it immediately leads me to think of a friend who needs to hear those exact words. Whatever it is, when I allow myself to be open to hearing something new, the Lord almost always gifts me that very thing: a new light shining through an old passage. Or through the music I think I know like the back of my hand: I notice a word or phrase that will change the entire song and how it speaks to my heart.

So here’s the hard part, the part it’s easy to talk about but not as easy to do. Get rid of those pre-conceived notions. Lose the filter through which you might be tempted to see. Open your eyes, your ears, your heart. Don’t be afraid of what you might hear; it might just be the thing that changes your mind.

God Still Parts Red Seas

Each year, the pastor at my church chooses a scripture that will be preached on and spoken to each member of the church individually, as a blessing for the year. It’s a really wonderful thing that they do: speaking positivity and truth into each and every person’s life through the course of one morning. Speaking blessing and encouragement into people who may not get it from anywhere else. It’s awesome.

Last night, I went with the other members of leadership to be blessed for 2015. The Blessing Sunday is a really busy time for worship leaders, pastors, deacons, and others who are leaders in the church, so we all get blessed with our families the previous Wednesday at a service together. As I went with Hubby to take communion and pick up the kids for the blessing, I was overcome with excitement. This is gonna be good! I thought. And it was. Our venue pastor Brandon was one of our “blessers”, along with a lady that I hadn’t met before. The scripture for the blessing was this:

Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV)
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Stand still. How often are we told that? Maybe if we’re having our picture taken, and that’s about it. Otherwise, it’s “come here” and “do this” and “go there” and “finish that”. It’s never “stand still, and let the Lord fight your battle for you”. How much better is that? How much more successful will He be at fighting my battle?

See the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. He WILL accomplish it. No question. He HAS accomplished it; His salvation is already ours! Amen, y’all!

You shall hold your peace. Hold… your… peace. Hold it. YOUR peace. That peace is yours for the taking, for the holding. That peace is in the security of knowing the Lord is fighting for you. FOR. YOU.

Our “blessers” spoke wisdom, peace, encouragement and security into our lives for 2015. They spoke to us as husband and wife, as parents, as workers and doers and believers. They spoke in love, and in the Holy Spirit. I’ve been thinking about it all night and all morning, how encouraged and positive I feel! A little encouragement and a word from the Lord spoken straight to me can go a long way.

If you need this encouragement, this love, this word, and you’re in central NC, then be at Reynolda Church, EPC on Sunday morning at 9:30 or 11. It’s gonna be good, y’all.

Find a Quiet Moment

Recently, I’ve seen, heard, and read a lot about priorities, living intentionally, and focusing on what’s most important. Also recently, I wrote a post about how I felt like my word for this season of my life is “rest” (read about that here). These posts, articles, and conversations have really gotten my mind buzzing and my heart pondering.

It’s so easy to get priorities out of whack. It’s even easier when you’re busy; if, like me, you have kids (or pets, so I’m told) to worry about, a house to keep clean, laundry to do, you know the drill. It’s hard to wake up and say, “First things first: I’m going to have some quiet time. I’m sure the kids won’t mind if they don’t get clean diapers or breakfast till I’m finished.” Or if you have to be leave for work at 7:30 like I did (when you aren’t a morning person) it’s tough to get up earlier than you absolutely have to. Sure, if you happen to score a Double Nap (see my thoughts on that here) or if you can send them to school, the first obstacle is out of the way, right? Wrong. Your to-do list is probably a mile long, no matter what your situation.

So what do you do? I don’t know. I’m figuring that out as I go. I’m reaching down deep and searching my soul – and schedule – to add some more quiet time in. On the days that I manage to squeeze it in (especially in the morning) I’m in a better mood, I respond to people with a little more patience and understanding, and my thoughts are nearer to the Word.

So in the spirit of being more intentional about my time (which I will elaborate more on later for sure), I’m adding to my thoughts on “rest” being my word. I’m including “resting” each day in a quiet time… in prayer, in the Scriptures, in His presence. I want to have a few minutes at least to rest and listen for Him. It’s my desire to provide the Holy Spirit with the opportunity to make something amazing happen. If I’m not listening, who knows what I’ll miss hearing Him say.