Archive for the ‘Scripture Memory 2013’ Category

2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 23!

My Border Collie, Queen Esther, is just about as handy as a GPS if she’s been to the destination at least once. The closer we get to where we’re going, the more hyper she becomes. The backseat of my car may as well be a treadmill. In fact, if I’m on the phone, I usually have to hang up because the person on the other line becomes too distracted to talk.

What is that?

My dog. Sorry. She’s a little over excited.

Is she hurt?

No. She’s happy.

What does she want?

Out!

She jumps from window to window and commences – not to bark exactly – but to yelp. I constantly insist to Keith that I have the gift of interpretation for the tongue Queen Esther speaks and, when we’re coming up on our destination, I am absolutely sure of what she’s saying: Let me out of this car so I can run the rest of the way!

Right about now, you’re the Queen – the real kind and not the canine variety – and it’s the perfect time to start your happiest yelping. You can see from the view out of your window that we are almost to our destination and, after a whole lot of hard work, I hope everything in you is hyping up and hollering, Let me out so I can run the rest of the way!

Good grief, you’ve been fantastic. I cannot recall ever having a higher percentage finish out the year. I’d have to check past years to confirm that but I don’t remember ever having a more active group from start to finish. I wish you were sitting right here with me in my chilly den in front of this fire and we could talk face to face instead of line to line.

Our heater is out and it is just about as cold in Houston as it gets most winters. We’ve already had the repairman out for hours but he’s been unable to fix it and advised us to call our builder. He thinks it’s a malfunction in the unit. You have to write an email request to the builder for a repair and we haven’t heard back from them yet so it could be a frosty few days. I just worked out on my elliptical with a jacket on if that tells you anything. I don’t mind so much though, as long as it’s fixed pretty soon. It’s gorgeous outside and I love sitting by a fire anyway. The part I don’t like is that Jackson and Annabeth’s room at my house is like ice and they really can’t even play in it right now when they come over. No worries, though. I expect it to be repaired surely by the first few days of this week.

If you were here, I’d also serve you up some cinnamon rolls in about an hour. I made homemade rolls for our Thanksgiving feast and I almost always roll out cinnamon rolls with the leftover dough several days later. They’re rising right now under some lights in the only warm end of my house.

Some of you are observant enough to ask me if I pulled two of them off the one pan and ate them raw because of those 2 circles of flour. No, I didn’t – though I was tempted – but I did peel them off and put them on the second cookie sheet because the 3 rolls that wouldn’t fit on the first pan looked so lonely over there. My cold house is going to smell like heaven in a little while. Sometimes I make a thick butter icing but, really, I prefer a thinner glaze made of powdered sugar, vanilla and a tiny bit of half and half. Too much icing takes away from the homemade flavor of the rolls in my opinion.

The inevitable question I get at a time like this is, “Do you always eat like that?”

Lord have mercy, no. But, Girlfriend, it’s a holiday.

I could make you hot tea or coffee to go with yours, depending upon your preference, and we’d chat a while and then we’d trade our 23rd verses.

My selection came up in my devotional this morning and catapulted me into prayer. I’m actually memorizing the 2nd chapter of Colossians right now but sometimes the section I’m working on next is too awkward out of context to post as an SSMT verse. For instance, if Colossians 2:21 were next, imagine this as my SSMT selection: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” See? Awkward. So, if I’m in the middle of a long portion, I usually go off road for SSMT and select a verse that is more user friendly so that women who are drawing a blank on their choices can go with me on mine if they wish. Here goes:

 

Beth, Houston. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 ESV

The second half of it drew me into intercession. It does not say that the reason the Son of God appeared was to deny the works of the devil. It does not say that the Son of God appeared to downplay the works of the devil. It does not say that the Son of God appeared to decrease the works of the devil. It says He appeared to DESTROY the works of the devil.

So I started pinpointing some areas around my life and the lives of my family members and loved ones where the enemy is rearing up his ugly head. And with great joy and a sense of victory in my chest, I thanked Jesus for coming to destroy his works and asked Him to demonstrate that destruction right before our eyes in those areas. We know that “the ancient serpent, who is the devil” will not be completely bound until the Kingdom of the living Christ comes in its fullness and His throne is established right here on earth. At that time, the prayer we’ve prayed more than any other will finally be fulfilled: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

But, until then, we are meant to experience stunning victories where we see living, breathing evidences that the enemy has been overcome. We’re meant to give the devil a taste of what he will experience in the Kingdom when he is bound for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:2)

Let’s not let him off the hook. Let’s remind our enemy every single day that he is not only defeated. His works are destroyed in Jesus’ great Name.

You, my dear sister, are a great privilege to serve. Walk strong with your God, young lady. Ask for a fiery faith to believe Him and for eyes to see His works manifested right here on this ailing planet. Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) 

Let’s toast to that.

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 22!

Hey, Sweet Things! I’m writing you from the same pajamas I put on this morning after a bath. The flu hit the Moores and Jones with a fury at the first of the week and, at this point, Keith, Melissa, Annabeth, and I all have it. Our little four year old ran 103 degrees today. It broke our hearts. She’s been to the doctor and, needless to say, Amanda is not getting an inch from her. You will not waste a prayer on all of us and I’m going to stop and pray right now for those of you who are ailing or have sick families.

Gracious Father, touch us with Your outstretched hand, heal and restore us. Take authority over our bodies and our households and command all sickness to depart in Jesus’ Name. Forbid any further spread of viruses, Lord, and speak wellness and strength over us. Show tender mercies particularly to our young and our elderly. Grant us the wisdom to acknowledge Your goodness and faithfulness to us and to give You all glory for the full restoration of our health. Apply the power of the Cross to all that concerns us. You are worthy of all praise. By Christ’s stripes we are healed. You are faithful and true and we adore You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

At the first of the week before my fever spiked, God had me in Jeremiah 31. It is such a beautiful chapter of Scripture about restoration and the way back home for even the furthest wanderer. I’ll post the verse I found most visual as my selection for our 22nd entry. Here goes:

Beth, Houston. “I will say, ‘My dear children of Israel, keep in mind the road you took when you were carried off. Mark off in your minds the landmarks. Make a mental note of telltale signs marking the way back. Return, my dear children of Israel. Return to those cities of yours.’” Jeremiah 31:21 The NET Bible

I’m going to go ahead and post this an evening early in hopes of sleeping in a bit in the morning. I’m planning to be back at work with full strength on Monday, God willing and grace-bearing. I love you and it is such an honor to serve you.

OK, Sisters! Let’s hear your verses! Only 3 more to go!

 

 

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 19!

Hey, my beloved sisters!

Though I won’t publish this post until Tuesday, the first day of October, I am writing to you on Sunday. I have the house all to myself today – not even a dog in sight – and I am sitting on my back porch as a generous rain soaks the ground, polishing the wide leaves of sweet gums on its way down. Our trees this far south are still plump and green and, right this minute, I don’t mind because the leaves have such a sheen on them in the rain that they look like vinyl. The temperatures will drop one slow degree at a time over the next month but we usually don’t have what people call “Autumn” here until as late as November. And it’s almost unrecognizable even then. Suddenly you just look up and the trees don’t have leaves and it hits you that you probably missed Fall on your way to work that morning when you ran into Starbucks for a dry cappuccino.

 

An Arkansas girl by heritage, I am on the hunt for Red October by mid September but I can’t think of a time since I’ve lived on the Gulf Coast that I’ve ever found it. Well, except when I close my eyes and look. And it is beautiful there. I do love Houston though, despite how season-challenged it is. Good people. Many, many who earnestly love Jesus and crave the sense of His presence and serve Him with both life and heart. Its diversity kicks up a rich climate for faith and a prime place to meet people very different from you who seek Jesus feverishly. It’s not as easy to keep your stereotypes tidy here.

 

In the early years of speaking, God purposed that I’d accrue copious hours of experience serving at various churches, women’s breakfasts and luncheons right here in our city limits and still get home to greet my children after their school day. I often pulled out of the driveway when they hopped on the school bus and squealed my tires back on the concrete just minutes before they pulled up at 3:15. My kids loved riding the school bus and, as it turns out (I write this with a smile), it was a grace to me.  On paper, our lives shouldn’t have worked but somehow it worked (apply the term loosely) in practice. That’s the beautiful oddity of the will of God. What should easily work doesn’t work when He’s not in it and what should never work does work when He is. It’s crazy to think about in retrospect. He has been so faithful, just as He will be to you as you try to balance it all and seek His mercy through the insanity.

 

I wish I could somehow add the soundtrack of what I’m presently hearing to this post. I wish you could listen to the comfort of the rainfall, especially if you are feeling chaotic or anxious right now or frantic about how something’s going to work out. The water is falling steadily, not a soft shower or a downpour. Constant and consoling, almost like one of those sleep-settings on your iPad. And I wish you could hear 4 male hummingbirds competing over the feeder that is hanging about 8 feet from where I’m sitting. It mesmerizes me to watch them and I think you might like it, too, once you adjusted to the pace out here in these woods.

 

Sometimes we really do just need everything and everybody else to shut up for a minute and let us listen to the sound of God being God around us. These moments are brief for all of us. Just five days ago I was fit to be tied over something. I do mean fit to be tied and, over the weekend, greatly concerned about a situation even while I served. But I am going to sit here for the next few minutes and pour myself a cup of coffee while God pours these woods a cup of rain.

 

Well, I guess you can tell that I’m in a musing mood so perhaps I should wrap this post up before I work my way over to subjects like world peace and dark nights of the soul and existential crises and the beauty of aging and the delights of youth.  Honestly, I can feel a poem trying to write itself in my head. This post must end with perfect timing before, indeed, my words start rhyming. Run for your life. It’s almost too late.

 

Here’s my Scripture for this October 1st!

 

Beth Moore, O God, You cause abundant showers to fall on Your chosen people. When they are tired, You sustain them, for You live among them. Psalm 68:9-10a The NET Bible

 

Amen, You do, gracious, merciful God.

 

I love you, Sisters. You are a joy to me. The next post will be registration for our SSMT celebration so we can get an idea how many to prepare for. Wooohoooo! It’s almost time to kick up our heels!

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 18!

If you happened to join us for the simulcast Saturday (we enjoyed worshiping and studying Scripture with you so much!), I bet you could guess my verse without ever seeing it. Here goes!

Beth, Houston TX. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans6:14

AMEN TO THAT.

 

It’s 11:15PM Saturday night and my eyes and fingers are so tired, I can hardly type. With your gracious permission, I’ll make this one short and sweet this time. I do so dearly love you. I’ll need a little grace on Sunday for moderation. I truly have to get some rest or I’ll never make it the rest of the week. Go ahead and leave your verses but keep in mind that they might not get moderated and posted till Monday after Living Proof opens.

I love you guys! Hold fast to Jesus!

 

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 17!

I cannot believe my eyes! Verse 17! And you, my dear sisters, have outdone yourselves. You are still numbering 2000+ this far into the year so it looks like our hard-working team is going to finish 2013 STRONG. I pray that even today you would feel a great rush of God’s sublime pleasure over you.

You’ll notice by the date on this post that I published it late Saturday night. Our handsome nephew is spending the night with us and he’s sleeping in the area of our house where we get the best internet connection. I thought maybe he might be a bit more blessed if I did not wake him up first thing Sunday morning and need in his room with my laptop.

My selection this time around comes from my morning devotional yesterday. I have loved this verse for so long and, this many years from the first time I saw it, the tears still burned in my eyes over the beauty of it.

Few things strike awe in our wondering, wandering hearts like waking up all the sudden to a fresh revelation that God is right there in that place. And has been all along.

To shake up the look of our SSMT post this time around, I believe I’ll share my verse with you in pictures. This should be an extremely familiar sight to you at this point:

In case you need to see the verse a little closer up:

 

I love to look up a verse in a number of different translations. I was touched by each one I found for Genesis 28:16 and I’m memorizing it out of the NET. But I was completely captivated by how The Message worded what Jacob whispered. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

Incredible. Wonderful. Holy.

God, we love You. We long for You. We want to see you revealed and perhaps most of all in the places we least expect to find You. Awaken us to Your Presence. Hear the song of our souls even when our lives betray it.

 

Awake, my soul, and sing

Of Him who died for thee,

And hail Him as thy matchless King

Through all eternity.*

 

OK, Sisters, I’ve shared my verse with you. Now you share your verses with me!

 

 

*Lyrics from the great hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns

 

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 15!

Hey, Everybody!

Soon after this post is published, I’ll be on a plane to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for this weekend’s Living Proof Live. I love going to the Dakotas so I am filled with joy over the privilege to serve there and anticipating God’s gracious and obvious (please let it be, Lord) presence crowded around us and welling up within us. Please pray for Jesus to be exalted, experienced, and enthroned there and for many to be saved and stunningly delivered.

My Scripture memory selection this week is springing up from my Monday morning reading there in my den at home. I’ve mentioned many times that I use a different translation for my devotional and prayer time so that the words will fall particularly fresh on me and so that, if the reading happens to be a familiar segment, I can’t anticipate it and unintentionally dismiss it. The translation I often use is The NET Bible. I’m going to give you the whole segment I read Monday morning so that you’ll see the verse I’ve chosen this time around in its context. This is Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NET):
17:5 The LORD says,
“I will put a curse on people
who trust in mere human beings,
who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength,
and whose hearts have turned away from the LORD.
17:6 They will be like a shrub in the desert.
They will not experience good things even when they happen.
It will be as though they were growing in the desert,
in a salt land where no one can live.
17:7 My blessing is on those people who trust in me,
who put their confidence in me.
17:8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream
whose roots spread out toward the water.
It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.
Its leaves are always green.
It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought.
It does not stop bearing fruit.

If you are like me, you found the way the NET translates the very first verse (V.5) a little disturbing. You’ll be relieved to know this isn’t the Scripture I’ve chosen to memorize (smiling) but it still needs addressing so that we’re not too distracted by it to engross ourselves in the remainder of the segment. If you’re familiar with the passage, you are probably more accustomed to wording like the NIV: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man.” The fact that the NET makes God the one “putting” the curse on man makes us squirm. Before we let it tie us in a knot and throw us in a lake of fear, we have to remind ourselves of our position in Christ. We have the glorious benefit of living this side of the completed work of the Cross and resurrection.

Galatians 3:13 says to our great relief: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”

Jeremiah 17:5 is still tremendously relevant to us because it unfolds the misery of counting on mere flesh and blood. I wonder if the “curse” talked about in this verse is of the same ilk as the one in Genesis 3 that came directly from God to man after the fall in the Garden. If Adam and Eve were doing anything at all when they ate from that tree, they were shifting their trust from God to themselves – mere flesh and blood – by attempting to be God-like. Though the Cross of Christ bore the curse for us, we can still endure the desolation that invariably results from placing our trust and confidence in people rather than God. This gets us where we’re going in our post today. Look back at Jeremiah 17:6 because this is the part that totally captivated me.

“They will be like a shrub in the desert. They will not experience good things even when they happen.”

Read it again if you need to but don’t proceed until you’ve tried to absorb that second sentence. Have you ever been right in the middle of something good happening and yet missed the full experience and joyful impact of it? Surely you’ve said silently to yourself as I’ve said to myself, “I should really be happy right now. What is wrong with me??” You know the feeling. You’re in a celebration or service of some kind or a holiday gathering and yet you almost feel detached from it. You’re there. But you are somehow disconnected from experiencing it. You know “it” (the positive thing presently happening) but you can’t feel it. It’s a good thing but you don’t feel good about it…or in it. What on earth is that about?

Jeremiah would suggest that the experience of good can be disconnected from the good because we are in a season of shifted trust from God to man. When we’ve set our hopes for happiness in how well all our people are doing…getting along…flourishing…affirming us…satisfying us…and all-around-generally-blessing us, and we even get a glimmer of it, we can’t experience the good because we know down deep that we can’t hold onto it. As much as we love all our people, we know that, ultimately, they are not going to come through for us. One shoe will drop. Then the other. The disappointment will come. And the harmony we feel for this moment with our fellow humans could at any second flip upside down into complete mayhem.

Notice the part that says “they will be like a shrub in the desert.” Isn’t it ironic that the more we depend on flesh and blood to come through for us and to fulfill us, the more isolated we become? You’d think that numbers alone would insure company and community. In other words, why derive our strengths and confidences from one God when we could get infinitely more out of all these people? Out of all these communities? Out of all our fellow church members? Out of all our Facebook friends? Our fellow tweeters? Company is one click away.

But it never works that way, does it? We never can let down our guard completely and find any shred of real security from flesh and blood. The person obsessed with us today can turn on us tomorrow and we know it. The person who makes life worth living for us today could die on us tomorrow and we know it. I don’t mean to be morose. I just mean to point out the emotional tightrope we’re walking. Being vastly people-oriented rather than God-oriented always ends up taking us to a place of isolation because they’re invariably busy when we want to play, invariably distracted when we want attention, and invariably more taken with themselves than with us. And so, there we sit, with our trust and confidence in mere flesh and blood and we end up feeling like a shrub in a desert.  Just as Jeremiah 17:6 says, “It will be as though [we] are growing in the desert, in a salt land where no one can live.”

Trust in man can seem a great place to visit but no one can really live there and come out calling it living.

It’s so odd to me that the more drawn I feel to God and the more taken I become with His Presence, the freer I am to love other people and the less I hold them responsible for me. Community with God increases our “experience” of good in a community of people. It is its own paradox.

And all of this brings us to the verse I have chosen for my memory work this time around:

Beth, Houston. My blessing is on those people who trust in Me, who put their confidence in Me. Jeremiah 17:7 The NET Bible

And what earthly difference would that make? Well, let’s see…

“They will be like a tree planted near a stream whose roots spread out toward the water. It has nothing to fear when the heat comes. Its leaves are always green. It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought. It does not stop bearing fruit.”

Notice a very intriguing contrast hidden in Jeremiah 17:8 – “It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.”

Reflect back on 17:6b – “They will not experience good things even when [good things] happen.”

When we place our confidence in mere flesh and blood, we are shortchanged even when good things happen. When we place our confidence in God, the Immortal Invisible, we have nothing to fear even when hard things happen. The former leaves us a dry shrub. The latter makes us a fruit-bearing tree.

We never get this lesson learned once and for all, do we? Or maybe it’s just me. I still get so tempted to put my confidence in people and to think that, if all my loved ones were safe, well, and flourishing, I could be so happy. The truth of it is, I do want those things for my loved ones but God alone can come through for them and for me. Anyway, at the end of the day, I could have everything this world could offer and all the good that man could possibly do me and still sit back and think, “Why doesn’t it feel better than this?”

My blessing is on those people who trust in Me, who put their confidence in Me.

Let’s hear your verses, Sisters!

 

 

 

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 13!

Hey, Everybody!

I am writing to you on Sunday afternoon since this post needs to go up first thing Monday morning and I am typing away on my laptop from Jackson and Annabeth’s room in our home. It’s the room where Keith and I get the best internet hookup. I like it anyway because it is filled with expressions of the only two kids on the earth I love as much as the two that I birthed. From Annabeth’s twin bed where I’m sitting, I can see a pink and green doll house, a blue and yellow race track, a dark green, fairly-convincing rubber lizard, a kids’ brightly colored exercise bike, a cardboard playhouse and a cardboard castle. It’s full on here in this room and, boy, has it had a work out in the last week.

Keith and I are blessed out of our minds to do lots of life with our grandkids because they only live about 20 minutes from our front door. Delightfully, their voices often reverberate off of these walls and their sweet feet are slap-happy on these wooden floors on a regular basis. We get to have sleepovers on occasions through out the year but once every summer Keith and I have them for the better part of a week and let their darling parents get some time together all by themselves. This last week was that segment of time – Camp Bibby we call it – for the summer of 2013. We kissed them goodbye on Friday night after a good, solid 5-day dose of them. I hate to admit to a small lump in my throat when they drove off with Amanda and Curtis, although I needed a nap in the worst way. Grin. It may be of some encouragement to you mothers of young children that, on Day 1, I did not shower until 3:00 PM. Yes, I do indeed remember what it was like to be a busy young mom whose life is not her own and when I forget, my two sweeties help me remember. Good grief, I would not trade them for anything in this world.

We do not have the time or space here for all the new quotes that have been added to my repertoire in the last week. Jackson and Annabeth are each hilarious, even when they don’t mean to be, so I try to have a pen nearby at all times. Annabeth announced to me on Friday afternoon that, when she grows up, she most definitely does NOT want to have a baby. “Why not?” I asked. “Because you have to go to the hospital,” she replied. And I thought to myself, whoa baby, that’s not all you have to do. As my mama always said, you also have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Translation: you think you’re going to die but, ordinarily, you do not, although at times your husband could be in considerable harm’s way if he spouts another word. Of course, I kept these thoughts to myself.

Annabeth paused for just a moment then spoke back up. “I just want a chihuahua and a cat.”

And that was that.

Jackson asked me how old I was while he was here because I recently had a birthday. He’s asked me that kind of thing before and it always ends up following the trail of whether or not I will still be his Bibby when he is in college. Curtis’s grandmother died a couple of years ago and I think he’s got it in his seven year-old head that grandmothers are tenuous creatures, here today, gone tomorrow. So, I said to him, “You know, Jackson, both your grandmothers are actually pretty young to have a grandkid as old as you. Because we all started so early, I think you can probably assume we’ll be around a while and see you grow up.” He sat on that a few moments then said, “Bibby, that makes you a rookie grandma. Do you know what a rookie is, Bibby?” Ah, yes, I do, Mister. I was a rookie mom with your mommy and a rookie grandma with you and I cannot think of two people on the planet through whom I’d rather be cast into those auspicious, busy, and often humbling roles.

I guess you’re wondering what all of this has to do with our Scripture memory. Well, I am getting to that right now. We have a daily verse at Camp Bibby and Psalm 32:9 out of the New Century Bible was our verse for Day 3 and the immediate favorite and clear winner for the fastest memorization. I taught the whole verse to Annabeth and Jackson but we only memorized part of it. Perhaps you will see why Jackson all but claimed it as his life verse. Kids totally love this kind of thing:

“Don’t be like a…donkey.” Psalm 32:9a

It made them almost as happy as talking about bathroom sounds. If I heard this verse once out of their mouths since Wednesday, I heard it 50 times. They could tell you what it means, too. I’ll stick the phrase back in the wider Scripture segment so that you’ll know what it means, too:
8       The LORD says, “I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you.
9       So don’t be like a horse or donkey, that doesn’t understand. They must be led with bits and reins,
or they will not come near you.”

Jackson would tell you that it means that God doesn’t want to have to tie us all up, or sit on us, or be all hard on us to get us to come to Him and to walk in His gracious and good will for our lives. He doesn’t want to have to make us obey Him so He can bless us. His deep desire is that we’d want to go with Him because we know that He is always for us, always leading us to triumph, always trustworthy, always right, and forever wanting to crown us with love and compassion and lead us away from bondage and such unnecessary harm.

I know it’s basic. But my mind’s been on the basics this last week with a seven year-old and a four year-old either one foot from me or on my person. I guess the question I’m throwing out on the table this week is this: Why do we continue to fight God and lash about in His grasp like He’s a big Taker instead of a Giver? What is it we think He’s trying to rob us of? To whom have we compared Him so that we’ve assumed we cannot trust Him?

Don’t be so stubborn, the psalmist is saying. Cooperate and go with God some place beautiful. Some place almost magical.

Revel in the two preceding verses in the same psalm (32), this time from the NIV:
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to You
while You may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Surround sound. Oh, if our spiritual ears could only be opened for a few glorious minutes, what a musical score we’d hear all around us. To go with Jesus is to go the way of deliverance. The way of music. The way of symphonies.  The way of ascent amid mighty rising waters. So, I’m going with Jackson in my memory work this round:

 

Beth, Houston. So don’t be like a horse or donkey, that doesn’t understand. They must be led with bits and reins, or they will not come near you. Psalm 32:9 NCV
So, what’s yours?

 

You are loved around here, Sister. We are honored to serve you.

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 12!

Hey Sweet Things! I’m putting this post up an evening early so I don’t have to be up and working at 7:00 AM on a Saturday morning off. Smiling. Thank you for understanding! Don’t stress if the comments aren’t moderated right away. We take it a little slower on weekends so nobody’s working nonstop.

 

I wish I had a way to add some great celebratory music to this post. You are officially halfway! Doesn’t that feel fabulous? Oh, come on, now. Let yourself feel it. Great job, Sisters! It’s not easy. We know we can do the second half because we have already done the first.  And we’ll do this next half exactly the same way: through the unction of the Holy Spirit. Just keep choosing Scriptures that are speaking to you in your exact season and need and they’ll come alive in the marrow of your bones.

 

I feel like I’ve been talking to you all day because I think of you while writing the lessons for the Bible study underway. We have hashed some things out in the Scriptures today, Sister. You just couldn’t hear them. I’ll just be glad when some of you are sitting on the other side of that page talking back. When I was at the taping for Children of the Day in May, we explained to the group that it would be a whole calendar year before the study comes out. The process takes a long time, especially because it involves both written work and video. We also have to dodge around a travel schedule that is set in calendar-stone a good bit in advance. But, in the twinkling of an eye, another month has already passed. The very last of the manuscript is due in December so you’ll not waste a prayer on me between now and then. I don’t get to write every week because I am on the road more often this time of year so each day I get to sit with my Bible open to 1st and 2nd Thessalonians is a gift. And a brain cracker at times.

 

You and I have plenty to do before next May, however! I so hope many of you are doing the Gideon Bible study this summer with us that our gifted sister, Priscilla Shirer wrote. It’s tremendously powerful. I saw one of you give her a shout-out today on Twitter with the hashtag #Siestaville at the end of it. It made me so happy. God has graced us with such anointed messengers at this hour in the Body of Christ, men and women alike. Hasn’t He? It has been my privilege to study under a number of them with you and to hear about many others from you. Our discipleship worlds are so much bigger when we’re willing to come together. Otherwise, we sit tight in all our own little corners and have no idea how many people God has gifted to serve the Body. We cheat ourselves when we separate ourselves.

 

OK, Sisters, are you ready to log in your 12th verses? I’m choosing mine from a sermon Curtis’s good friend, Jerrell Altic, brought in Curtis’s absence last Sunday at our church. His primary text was Mark 1 but he tied in a verse that really jumped out at me. I love the Book of Philemon and have taught out of it several times in the last two years but that’s the beauty of living words. A Scripture will suddenly pop off the page that had somehow been veiled from our recognition before. I’d been so taken with phrases like “yet for love’s sake” in verse 9 that I’d missed the treasure of V.6, and who couldn’t get distracted by a verse like the 15th? “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever.”  I bet some of you have a pretty slack-jawing testimony of that very concept under your own roof.

 

But when Jerrell referenced this verse, I knew it was my choice for our 12th round of SSMT. In fact, don’t tell but I jotted it immediately on the yellow notes app of my iPhone, took a screen shot and made it my screen saver right then. Sometimes a “now” word is like RIGHT NOW. Here it goes:

 

 

Beth, Houston. “I pray that the faith you share with us may deepen your understanding of every blessing that belongs to you in Christ.” Philemon 1:6 The NET Bible

 

I want God to deepen my understanding of every blessing that belongs to me in Christ while I’m here plowing into some stubborn earthly soil with sweat sopping my forehead. Don’t you? I’m so thankful to be blessed but wouldn’t fleshing it out be a whole different prospect if we came to understand the depth and breadth of many of those blessings? To stand on them, act on them, pray from them, teach from them, love from them, and serve through them? Now we’re talking.

 

Colossians 2:2-3 gives a glimpse into the grandeur involved as the Apostle Paul prays “that their (and our) hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

 

Look at that again: “the riches of full assurance of understanding.” We can’t soon wrap our minds around all that encompasses but we can instantly and actively start praying for God to deepen our understanding of the blessings that belongs to us in the One who embodies every divine and hidden treasure.

 

I’m making these prayers mine and I am looking for God to answer them. He wouldn’t dictate a prayer right there on the pages of the New Testament that He had no intention of responding to.

 

I love working through some verses and concepts with you, Sisters. You are so dear to me. Thank you for spending a little time around here and committing to something challenging in the midst of many priorities. I pray that every part of your life is invaded by the Word of God coursing through your brain. May God bring your harvest forth 100-fold.

 

It’s your turn, Sisters! Give me a hint about what Christ is doing in you right now through the selections of your verses. You are so loved.

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 11!

Hey, Everybody! I am jotting this post several days in advance because I’ll be at a Living Proof Live in Atlanta, Georgia the day this goes up. In fact, if you read this before 11:15 CST (12:15 Atlanta time) on Saturday, we’d be incredibly blessed if you’d pray for our remaining time to be so flooded with the presence of God that we can hardly bear the glory.

I’m so proud of you for making it this far in our Scripture memory process! Sisters, you have worked hard. Let yourself feel the holy nod of God. He has tremendous joy in seeing His children esteem His Word highly enough to store it like treasures in the vault of their hearts. We’ve arrived at a milestone of sorts in this journey. June is tremendously significant for our team because this is the month we come to the halfway marker. Once we get into July and August we have less memorization in front of us than we have behind us. That’s a big deal.

This time around I’m choosing a verse that I’ll be challenging the attendees to memorize at the Atlanta Living Proof Live. I’m not sure a verse could be more fitting for the pure act of praise. I love Scriptures that not only speak about God but speak straight to God. Get a load of this one:

Beth, Houston. O Lord, You are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious, and sovereign over all the sky and earth!  You have dominion and exalt Yourself as the ruler of all. 1 Chronicles 29:11  The NET Bible

Any of us who memorize a fair amount of Scripture have certain go-to approaches that have helped us along. If you’ve got a method that is working, by all means, go with it! But, if you’re interested in memorizing the same verse and would like some suggestions about how to tackle it, I’ll share what works for me. Keep in mind that the methods of Blonder Than She Pays To Be could be madness to someone else so take this or leave it depending on your learning style.

With any verse, I start looking almost immediately for how I can reason out the word order. The first thing I’m going to notice in 1 Chronicles 29:11 is that there are 6 rapid-fire descriptions of God in the first sentence. In this verse, I’d reason that it’s fitting  for the word “great” to be first among the descriptions because many of us are accustomed to using the terminology that God (or the Lord, in this case) is great. It’s an easy, accessible word. The next three descriptions all begin with “M”: mighty, majestic, magnificent. As I prepare for Atlanta, I’ll be saying those three words over and over in that order so that they’ll get ingrained in my thinking. They have an amplifying rhythm to them, too, because the first one (mighty) is two syllables, the second one (majestic) is three syllables, and the third one (magnificent) is four syllables. Does that help at all with the word order and how they roll off your tongue? Say them until you feel the syllables build and you might latch onto them pretty quickly.

After the beginning “G” (great) and the 3 “M’s”, we have another “G.” This time it stands for “glorious.” That’s a word I love to say so I’m hoping I can remember it pretty easily. G-M-M-M-G. Are you beginning to catch on? (I think I just heard somebody yell “NO!” Was that you?? I tried to warn you that I can make things harder than they have to be. Laughing. You might need to be the one telling your sisters here how to tackle a wordy verse. Just give me an “E” for effort here and maybe an “A” for affection. I do so seriously love you.)

The last of the 6 descriptions is “sovereign.” To me, that’s always the final word on anything that has to do with God. If I’m confused or I can’t fit in my brain why this happened or why God approached a particular thing a particular way, I finally come to a measure of peace by stating this biblical truth: He is sovereign over all things. In the exact words of 1 Chronicles 29:11, “over all the sky and earth.” I love visual language and that, Sister, is plenty visual. Span the galaxies in the universe with your imagination then put your scope on our planet and zero in. (I know I’m really pushing it right now with some of you but the way I’d keep it straight that “sky” comes before “earth” is that it starts with an “S” like “sovereign” right before it. If I’m getting on your last nerve, never mind.)

Then put the finishing touches on the verse with this: You have dominion and exalt Yourself as the ruler of all!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not expecting that we’d have it down pat in the brief amount of time it’s taken us to walk through those few paragraphs but what about 15 days? That’s how long we’d have to get those words steeped into our souls. Could we get them down over the course of two weeks? Yes, ma’am, I do believe we can! And, if not word-for-word, just think how much we’ve meditated on descriptions of our God! That is time NEVER wasted. Let’s ask God to give us the supernatural unction to accomplish this memorization and remind Him how much glory He could receive from our being able to extol His preeminence like that over and over while we’re…

praying…

driving…

walking through our neighborhoods…

on our treadmills…

rocking our babies…

getting chemotherapy…

getting physical therapy…

sitting with an elderly loved one…

healing from a heartbreak…

or so happy that we need some way to tell Him how marvelous we think He is before we burst.

Of course, most of you have your own Scripture selections and I have just put you through the wringer for nothing! So, whether you’re sharing 1 Chronicles 29:11 or bringing your own verse to the table, let’s see them! I’m blessed almost out of my bleached blond mind to get to do this with you, Sister. You are a tremendous joy to me.

 

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 10!

Hey girls! Lindsee here! By now you know that our dear Beth is teaching her heart out this week, taping her next Bible study in Tennessee. So, when I realized that SSMT would fall right smack dab in the middle of the taping, I told her that if she trusted me, she was welcome to release this to me and I’d try to do it as much justice as she does. She happily obliged, so here I am. What makes it easy is that I’m memorizing right alongside y’all, however, this time around I feel the pressure to make it a good verse. Of course, I’m both kidding and laughing.

Actually, my scripture memory verses don’t always come easy to me, but this week was a different story. You see, this past Sunday at church was an all hymn Sunday. Typically we’re a little more contemporary and certainly throw in a hymn every now and then, but this Sunday every last song was one you could find in a hymnal. Truth be told, I kind of loved it.

Among the selection of hymns, we sang “I’d Rather Have Jesus”. I’m not sure if you’ve listened to those lyrics lately, but what a convicting song it is and rather vulnerable if you ask me.

You tell me:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.

Than to be the king of a vast domain

And be held in sin’s dread sway;

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;

I’d rather be true to His holy name

Whoa. I’d Rather. What is your rather? What do you want so bad, but you’d rather have Jesus? I could name countless things. But really, what rubbish each of those things are compared to knowing Jesus as my personal Lord and savior. What rubbish they are compared to being known and loved perfectly by Jesus himself, who gave His life for you and didn’t expect anything in return, lest we even think we have anything to offer in return. I know it in my head, but I want to fully grasp it in my heart.

That led me to Phillipians 3:8, which is my scripture this go around:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 (NLT)

Isn’t is so true, that the more time we spend getting to know our Jesus, the more the things of this world grow strangely dim? I think it is true. The more I learn that Jesus is the ONE faithful and trustworthy thing, the less I worry about worldwide fame, men’s applause, riches or anything else my flesh cringes for.

Jesus is simply better.

Have I achieved it? Hardly.

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” Philippians 3:12

But I press on. I put my focus on one solitary thing.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13

Because after all…

“He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.”

Jesus is better. Let’s hear yours! (And that’s three options for you, ladies! Should you choose to use one of those. Grin.)

On a not-so-different, yet different note, our sweet siesta mama did just tell me to tell y’all, “I love them so much and feel their prayers and to keep them up!”

Oh, and one more fun and important thing, be sure to hop back on tomorrow (Thursday) for the announcement of our summer Bible study! The suspense!

Y’all are priceless.

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