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Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015: Verse 2!

Hey, everybody! You are in the exact right place to submit your Verse 2!

This is such a fun first for SSMT! Remember in the SSMT informational post when I told that, while I’ll still be doing all the SSMT posts on the 1st of every month, the one on every 15th would be written by various sisters in our blog community? Welcome to the first one! It took me about 5 seconds to decide who we should ask to kick off our SSMT guest posts. My beloved friend, Jan Morton, has been an active member of this community from its inception. I fell in love with her by watching her interact with countless women in the comment line, ministering to them and encouraging them and mothering them and making them laugh. And through that connection, we became personal friends. Our SSMT guest bloggers throughout 2015 will be from various age groups but this one happens to be right at my age and in a very similar season in her personal life and serving life. Those of you who have been around a while know that Jan Morton became so dearly loved in this community that we early on named her the “Mayor of Siestaville.” So, without further hesitation, please grant me the honor of introducing you to one of the mightiest women in the faith that I know. Jan, we are so honored to have you host us today! Thank you for investing in us!

 

GaJan-Dec2014
Happy 2015 Siestas! This is such a privilege for me to share with our SSMT. I adore this community! My name is Jan Morton. I’m a pastor’s wife from Georgia. [I am also “GJ” for Gran Jan/Georgia Jan.] I’ve been married to my husband Gary for 37 years. Only 20 years old when we got married¸ we were way too young but who knew? ☺ We have two grown married sons, two sweet daughters-in-love, and 5 delightful grandchildren ages 6, 4 ½ , 4 ½, 2 ½, and 17 months – Gran Jan’s JOY! I love gardening, singing in choir/praise team, reading, quilting, and serving in the women’s ministry of my church. I work in our local school system (26 years now) as the Administrative Assistant to our Superintendent. A new ministry I’m involved in at my church is called Taste & See, a mentoring, encouragement time for women. Cooking and conversation! We get in the kitchen and wonderful things happen. Isn’t the kitchen a great place to gather? It is at the Morton home!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” ESV

The word says: For everything [it says everything], there is a season and a time for every matter/purpose/activity under heaven. Everything – the entirety of; a great deal, especially of something very important, EVERYTHING!

God has been drawing me to the theme of seasons, and that is what I want to share with you today. All of life relates to seasons. The beauty found in the four seasons of a calendar year to the seasons of our lives. I’m in the season of life known as the empty nest. Just me and my man like when we had “only just begun.” I’m loving this season, especially being a grandmother. Looking back as a 57 year old woman can do…I can truthfully say I’ve learned in every season of my life. I pray to grow old gracefully and stay relevant and young at heart.

What is your season of womanhood right now? Are you in SPRING – a young woman in school or just beginning a career or education or newly married? How about SUMMER – in the “zone” raising children or building a career or marriage? Maybe you’re in AUTUMN – children grown, and you may be looking toward retirement? Or perhaps you find yourself in WINTER – your senior years as a woman, perhaps a widow, reflecting on past seasons and all that God has brought you through.

WHEREVER YOU ARE, BE ALL THERE. This is what God is showing me because in the busyness of life I can easily lose focus. Don’t be longing for another season and miss what’s going on around you now. This deception is one of the biggest lies of the enemy of our souls; the distraction and discontentment with where we are today. Embrace your season: SEASON – SAVOR EVERY AVAILABLE SENT OPPORTUNITY NOW! Some are more enjoyable than others, sure they are! Just as changes in seasons bring mosquitoes in summer or storms in winter, there are extremes in our lives. Some of you empty nesters may suddenly find yourself caring for both your grandchildren and aging parents. Some of you young women may be longing for marriage. Some of you stay at home moms or single moms may have to go into the workforce for a season to pay the bills. If our entire lives were one continuous season we wouldn’t have the changes we desperately need to help us grow. As much as I love to garden, if every day were spring or summer, I wouldn’t have autumn to harvest, or winter to dream and plan.

This old gal has learned some things in 57 years of seasons:
• Our constant, never-changing, faithful Lord Jesus is with us in every SEASON, in everything.
• Sometimes seasons overlap – in fact, several might descend on you at once. Sometimes joy and sorrow meet in a season.
• You may think springtime has come, but unseasonal cold snaps may occur and you better be ready. Memorizing God’s Word is a lifeline.
• Ask God to give you a strong focus in your season today and receive it as the gift it is, embracing the wonder. God will provide your daily bread.

“Which is the happiest season of life?” was asked of an older woman. She replied: “When spring comes, and the flower buds are breaking through I think, ‘How beautiful is spring.’ And then when summer comes and covers the trees with heavy foliage and singing birds are among the branches, I think, ‘How beautiful is summer.’ When autumn arrives with golden fruit, and the leaves bear the gorgeous colors, I think, ‘How beautiful is autumn.’ And then comes winter, and there is neither foliage nor fruit, and I look up through the leafless branches as I never could until now, and see the stars shining in God’s home.

Embrace whatever season you are in now. RIGHT NOW. Don’t long for another season. I know the days may be long, but at my age, the years seem so short. So wherever you are, be all there. Because of Jesus, one day we will be “SEASONED TO PERFECTION” and live with Christ for eternity. Let’s get there one day at a time and savor our seasons as God wills. Because He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

____________

 

OK, ladies! It’s me, Beth, again. Submit your second verses! Remember to limit your comments to these 5 pieces of information:

Name, city, verse, reference (where it is found) and translation. 

Here’s mine! 

Beth Moore, Houston, Texas. In Him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:21-22 ESV

I love you guys!

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It’s Hunting Season for Heretics

Not long ago I saw something on social media that had a particularly troubling effect on me as a fellow follower of Jesus. Of course, we see deeply disturbing things on social media everyday. Things that trouble us not only as Christians but, for crying out loud, as fellow humans. Things much more troubling than what I’m about to share with you today. I may comment on those things and cry out to God about those things but I’d less likely write a blog post about them. Other voices are more qualified. My concerns and the kinds of things I write about are more inclined toward matters involving the community of believers in Christ. I love the community of faith so much. Called to discipleship, it is the focus of my life passion and has been for thirty years. I only have one small desk from which to watch our world so I miss a lot but, among the things in my eyeshot, I see so much cause for praise. So much good. I see stirrings of revival. Outbreaks of evangelism. Demands for justice. I don’t know how anybody truly awake in the believing world could claim that nothing good is happening in Christianity.

 

But the reason I’m writing today is that I’m seeing a burgeoning trend out there that is toxic, dangerous, and slanderous. Nothing about it carries the scent of Christ.

 

It’s a witch hunt. Only, instead of witches, it’s heretics and false teachers.

 

I’ve been watching the witch hunt for several years and seen the usual targets and been one of the usual targets. The lists are growing by leaps and bounds and list-makers are proudly joining ranks. This is part of our brave, new world. And everybody’s game, especially anybody vaguely outspoken. An addition was made to the list here recently that was so absurd that it would have been laughable had it not said so much about where this whole trend is heading.

 

I’ll leave out the names of other targets and speak firsthand from my own experience. After all, the thing that troubled me on social media recently was personal. It was an attack not made behind my back. It was said where I would see it.

 

The tweet referred to me on my feed as “false teacher @BethMooreLPM.”

 

Nothing was new about seeing that. I also regularly get called a heretic.

 

 

As unpleasant and bewildering as it is, that’s not the part that particularly disturbed me. The part that got me is that it came from 22 year-old young woman.

 

Twenty-two.

 

Maybe she started young and really had done enough of the Bibles studies or read enough of the books to support a doctrinal evaluation like that.

 

What is more likely is that she believes it because it’s what she’s heard from someone she respects.

 

Or maybe she’s seen evidence with her own eyes through segments of video-teaching taken out of their original context and strung together in such a way to suggest a representation of an entire thrust of ministry.

 

I don’t know exactly how she came up so confidently with that label so early in her adult Christian life but somehow she did.

 

The tweet didn’t make me mad. It made me sad. I wanted to ground her and give her a homework assignment. Lest you go looking for her, I deleted the comment from my feed when I knew I was going to write this post. We’re not going to respond to unkindness with more unkindness. That’s not God’s way. Anyway, the odd thing of it is, I loved her immediately. My calling is discipleship and my focus is women. I want women plugged into churches. I want them continually sitting under pastors, shepherds, and teachers. I love to hear that women are studying in group environments but I also want them to study for themselves. Not just get spoon-fed what to think and not only about the Scriptures and the local church but also about the larger community of faith and those who serve within it. About the responsible use of voice. About what qualifies as a heretic. About mutual respect for their own brothers and sisters in Christ. About fair evaluations. Due diligence.

 

 

I’m still very much on my journey, too. Such a long shot from arriving. I’ve woefully regretted things I’ve said and some things I’ve taught. All of us are on a learning curve in this culture entrusted to our care. But, as we learn and as we operate in these public forums where everybody has a voice, come, let us reason together.

 

There is a mighty wide pond between “I line up with him/her” and “He/she is a false teacher.” Let’s think about wading through it. That’s all I’m saying.

 

In a massive cross section of Christian voices on social media, the bottom has dropped out of an entire line of reasoning and way of relating to one another.

 

We’ve jumped straight to terms like “false teachers” and “heretics” instead of expressions that very likely represent the differences more accurately. Such as…

 

I strongly disagree with _________________________ about _______________________________.

 

Or even,

 

I believe __________________________________ is unsound about ____________________________.

 

Disagreement is not a qualification for declaring someone a heretic. Even vehement disagreement.

 

As well, getting something wrong doesn’t automatically make a person a false teacher. If that were so, we’d all qualify at one time or another. There are vital elements that need to be considered, taught, and discussed among us in our Christian environments like what constitutes proper criteria for making claims of heresy and false teaching and what is orthodoxy? How do we wisely oppose and confront? How does Jesus say to handle it? What really are the deal-breakers?

 

Of course there are false teachers! Of course there are heretics! Of course they must be questioned! Of course, people should be warned! Of course teachers of the Scriptures must be held accountable for what they’re teaching!

 

My concern today is the disturbing trend of throwing dangerous labels around because of what we’ve heard and not what we’ve investigated fairly and properly. I realized several years ago that one of my most outspoken critics has never even cracked open one of the Bible studies. Not one. Doesn’t want to either. All there is to the entire ministry from his perspective is this: “she claims special revelation from God.” And, based on his summation, I equate these “special revelations” with the Word of God.

 

Are you kidding me? He can say that from a distance but I do not believe he can make that claim close up. If he can, I’m the one that needs grounding.

 

We are the Body of Christ. We are brothers and sisters. Even when we are utterly convinced the other person is wrong and we have doctrinal ducks in a row to prove it, we are never to treat one another “as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:15) Yes, we must hold one another accountable and hold ourselves accountable. We question one another. We by all means keep discussing and debating and entering into healthy disagreements.

 

But we stop short of labeling one another things like false teacher and heretic until we’ve done our homework.

 

 

This isn’t a polished post. No time this particular day to make it so. But I offer it to you with one simple hope: that we’d be among those who take pause. Among those who consider ethics of speech to have an important place on our Christian platforms. Among those who think before we speak.

 

It’s hunting season out there. Let’s be careful how we hunt.

 

 

Addendum: 

Brothers and Sisters, I wrote this in a comment as I closed that portion of the post but it could easily get lost in well over 300 entries. I thought I would add it here as well:

 

Hey, Everybody. I so appreciate you stopping by. You guys have really kept me busy this weekend moderating all these comments and entering into discussions both here and elsewhere. I have a taping this coming weekend and need to prepare four different teaching sessions toward it. It will keep my hands full every single day. We also have our big Scripture memory post coming up later this week here on the blog so we will be very occupied with those things. For that reason, I am going to need to close the comments at this point on this post. I’m the only one moderating this post and I am out of time. My attentions must now turn to preparation for the taping.

I do want to tell you something though. This comment line has had value in my life and ministry. I want you to know that and I want to thank you. I am a thinker and you have caused me to think and to pray and to worship and to read and to reflect and to remember and to reconsider. Those are always good things. I love to learn and I promise you that as long as I live and breathe, I will seek to keep learning.

It is doubtful that I will ever satisfy my harshest critics but I want to be a loving fellow-follower of Christ. Just as they do not line up with me, there are distances that I cannot go with them. I believe God can be more willing to reveal Himself in our day than some of my brothers and sisters do. I believe the New Testament well supports such a stand. It is easier and more controllable and comfortable just to say that He does not and it cuts out so much of the risk but I don’t believe we can control the Holy Spirit like that without ultimately quenching Him.

We must test everything and hold fast to what is good. We all must stay in God’s Word, study it hard, pray, fast, memorize. The God-breathed Word recorded on the pages of Scripture is our Truth, our authority, our standard by which all else is measured. Nothing equates with the Scriptures: no word of knowledge, no prophetic message, no insight, no revelation, no dream, no vision. Nothing. That doesn’t mean they can’t be valid. The New Testament says they can. But they must never supplant or be placed on the same level with the Scriptures. The Word of God is how we test everything else. We also must keep subjecting ourselves to accountability and stay attached and approachable to a sound body of believers in a local church.

And as we do, may God pour His Holy Spirit upon us. Profusely. Extraordinarily. Miraculously. We need Him and want Him desperately. May He renew wonders in our day. May He anoint us powerfully and shield us protectively.

In John 5:39-42 Jesus confronted a group of leaders with words that have long since made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. He told them that they “diligently study the Scriptures” but went on to say, “you do not have the love of God in you.” It is possible to be a diligent, devoted student of the Word of God without having an ounce of His love in our hearts. Brothers and Sisters, let that be far from us. How we treat one another matters. Let’s not grow cold to one another even in our disagreements. Faith, hope, and love. These are the things that remain.

I am honored to serve you and it has been my honor to host you this weekend here at the blog. Stay the course, everybody. Don’t grow weary. Jesus is so worthy. And it won’t be long until we see that glorious face.

In the bonds of His love,
Beth

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Identity Declaration

Hello friends, and Happy New Year!

For those of you that joined us for the 2014 Living Proof Live Simulcast, the “Identity Declaration” (shown below) has been put to music by Travis and the ladies from his praise team.  They worked hard to get it recorded and we are thrilled to share it with you now!

You have two listening options:
You can either simply play the song by clicking on the arrow below,
or right click here to download and save the song to your computer.

Enjoy!

Identity_final[1]

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Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015: Verse 1!

WELCOME, EVERYONE, TO THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE 2015 SIESTA SCRIPTURE MEMORY TEAM!

WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!

Allow me to introduce myself to you as your fellow sojourner for the next 12 months and your official cheerleader. It will be my pleasure to remind you often that, in Christ Jesus, you most certainly CAN be victorious in this adventure of the faith, this challenge of the mind and this discipline of the Spirit.

Nothing we’ve done on this blog since its inception has seemed to attract more outrageous favor from God. We are convinced that He loves it. God never misses a single individual going to the work of memorizing His Word but imagine His delight when a huge community of tremendously diverse women in age, background, and worship tradition band together in a pilgrimage of faith. You don’t have to stop and wonder if it’s God’s will for His words to abide in you. The Word of God alive, active, and abiding in us speaks to us, shields us, warns us, strengthens us, sanctifies us, equips us in our callings, and directs us in our decision making. It sharpens our insight and improves our discernment. It makes us wiser and, let’s be bold enough to say, even smarter. Our brains were hardwired to flourish across the board when nourished by the Scriptures. Above all else, Scripture abiding and thriving in us builds up our faith, for “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)  And, Girlfriend, we want to be women of faith. That faith erupts into works that were planned for each of us before the creation of the world. (Ephesians 2:10)

OK. I want to get right to it before I lose some of you so that no one will be unclear about the protocol.

The entry of your first verse is your official registration for SSMT (Siesta Scripture Memory Team). Everybody who joins us needs to start right here in a designated comment to this exact post. Even those who may jump in with us a couple of months late who are willing to work double-time to get it all done will start right here.

For a quick recap of our objective: Remember, we are committing to the memorization of 24 verses in 12 months. Two a month. We each get to select our own verses to align with our personal needs and challenges. Choosing a Scripture that resonates with you is immensely helpful in the memorization process. If you have trouble coming up with one of your own, you can always share mine or look through the other entries for ideas. You’ll find your SSMT posts right here on the blog at 8:00 AM on the 1st and 15th of every month in 2015. [Under the LINKS section listed on the right hand side of our blog home page, you will find all SSMT posts will store together for easy access. See “Scripture Memory Team 2015″.] If you haven’t had a chance to read all the instructions and hear about our end-of-year celebration, please go back and read the informational post then return to this spot. Questions unanswered here are answered there.

One of the most important things for you to know from the top is how to arrange your comment with the verse you’ve selected. We limit each comment to this information: 

Your name, city, verse (written all the way out), reference, and translation. 

SO, here goes mine! I’m obsessed with the Book of Ephesians right now so much of my memory work will probably come from those pages.

Beth Moore, Houston, Texas. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19 ESV

We’re fellow citizens with the likes of Peter and John and James and Stephen and Paul and Timothy and Barnabas and Joanna and Susanna and Lydia and Tabitha and just try counting all the Marys. We’re fellow citizens and members of the household of Middle Eastern believers confessing Christ in hostile climates, of Chinese believers meeting in house churches, of Eastern European believers finding hope in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have brothers and sisters in Thessaloniki, in Paris, in Belfast, in Riyadh, in Copenhagen, in Calgary, and Rome. We – right here in this community – are sisters to a household of God that stretches across this globe, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ alone. By grace through faith. “It is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) That’s what makes us family. We, beloved sister, are in gorgeous company. Let’s give our time on this planet as part of this household all we’ve got. Christ is so altogether worthy.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! One last thing before I say Go! Don’t panic or jump the gun and post a second time if you don’t see your verse published soon. I will be moderating all these launch comments by myself because I don’t want my staff to have to work on the holiday so I beg your patience. I’ll be hard at work on it but it will take me a while to get them all posted. As a rule over the next 12 months, only post a second time if it’s been 48 hours since you left the comment and you still don’t see it.

****I noticed that some of you posted verses earlier than this post was published and they came up on the SSMT informational comments.  I should have doubly emphasized what time the posts will go up each round: 8:00 AM, each 1st and 15th. So sorry if I did not make that clear enough! If you submit your verse earlier than that, it unfortunately appears under the wrong post and, the way blog moderating works, there’s no way for us to transfer the comments over. If you left your 1st verse under any other post than this one, please add it here as well. This is the official registration post.  I know it’s a bit complicated at first! Hang with it! So sorry for your extra trouble!

Hey, I am so glad you’re doing this with us. So much love to you.

OK, GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Merry Christmas!

All of us at Living Proof Ministries joyfully wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
Praying His abundance all over your 2015!

Merry Christmas 2014

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Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015 Instructions and Spiral Information!

HEADS UP, SCRIPTURE MEMORY PARTICIPANTS!!! IF YOU’RE ON THIS POST TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS, YOU ARE IN EXACTLY THE RIGHT PLACE SO PROCEED WITH CONFIDENCE! ****BUT!!! IF YOU ARE REGISTERING AND MAKING YOUR FIRST 2015 ENTRY WITH VERSE 1, PLEASE GO TO THE JANUARY 1ST OFFICIAL LAUNCH POST! THAT’S WHERE VERSE 1 GOES! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COOPERATION WITH THE DETAILS INVOLVED. SO MUCH LOVE TO YOU!

 

Hey Everybody!

We are revving up around here for SSMT 2015! The Scripture memory team we host and support every other year is the most extensive thing we do around here on the LPM blog so you can know that you are the size of an airbus on our ministry radar right now. We are elated about the year we have ahead and believe with all our hearts that God finds tremendous delight in this group of diverse women banding together to memorize His Word. Here is everything you need to know about how to participate in the 2015 Siesta Scripture Memory Team! Please be sure you make it all the way to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the information about our matching spirals.

First, a few things up front since many people joining us have no previous interaction here:

*For you new comers, an explanation of the name is in order. “Siesta” is just an endearment for “Sister.” There’s no club to join and no person you need to become. If you’ve trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, you’re a sister in Christ. If you don’t know Him, we’d love for you to stick around and get to know us and see if anything around here draws you. Everyone is welcome. Here’s a bit of our back-story on the weird name: When we first began the blog, it never occurred to any of us how much we’d come to love each other. As the community grew closer and closer and the participants more and more familiar with one another, one of you asked what name we should call each another. I tried to say, “I’ll tell you what we are: We’re sistahs!” but spell-check switched it to “siestas.” It stuck and that’s been us ever since. We even liked the thought that its actual meaning is to take a nap. We’ll know we’ve been a place of divine intervention if we’re a respite from the female competition and clatter out there. Only Jesus can give us that kind of relief in this exhausting culture.

*We call this a Scripture memory “team” because that’s exactly what we are. We cheer each other on, hold each other accountable, and urge one another to make it to the goal – 24 verses systematically memorized in 12 months – through a process that requires significant practice.

*Very often you will see me refer to SSMT. Just so nobody’s confused from the start, that is an abbreviation for “Siesta Scripture Memory Team.” If you’re not participating in SSMT, please know that we don’t limit the entire blog to our Scripture memory participants. It has a big presence on here because it’s twice a month but we still do lots of other things. Please don’t feel left out or forgotten.

*Why 24 verses? In previous years, we’ve found this to be a very doable pace: 1 verse every 2 weeks. If you do much more, you’ll tend to fall behind and not retain. If you do much less, the impact is negligible. You really can do this. So many of you will surprise yourselves with what you’re capable of doing in the power of the Spirit. Yes, it takes work but it’s tremendously fulfilling and the results are nearly immeasurable. Look at it this way: we’re going to be meditating on something: unforgiveness, toxic memories, misery, lust, greed, dissatisfaction, jealousy, competition. Let’s choose Scripture instead! Christ Himself said as a man thinks, so is he. He also said His words are spirit and life. This is work worth doing, Beloved. Never – NOT ONCE – have I ever known anyone to get to the end of a Scripture memory commitment and say that it didn’t make any real difference. Not a single time.

OK, NOW FOR THE INSTRUCTIONS. You can cut and paste these somewhere if necessary. Here’s how it will go:

1. On the 1st and 15th of every month of 2015 starting on New Year’s Day, you will find a post by 8:00 in the morning asking for your memory verse, suggesting one if you’re drawing a blank, and encouraging you in your process. In past years I’ve written all the posts myself but I thought maybe this year we needed to do something to shake it up a bit and make it extra-fun. I’ll still do all the posts on the 1st but the entries on the 15th will be written by a cross section of women from this community who’ve been asked to guest post. That means that, over the course of the year, you’ll hear from 12 of them. They’ll tell you a little bit about themselves, share the verse they’ve selected for that round, and why they chose it. We’ve also asked them to supply us with a picture so you can have a face to go with each name.

2.You are to enter the verse you’ve chosen to memorize for that two-week period within twenty-four hours of the post going up. I’ve been asked many times if it’s okay if you’re late supplying your verse and, yes, of course it is, but try to avoid doing it often. The people who make it to the very end of the year are overwhelmingly those who stay up with it month to month. Please know up front that one of the important parts of this process is the exercise of self discipline. This culture is mass producing self-indulgent narcissists. Year-long commitments like these that require punctuality and focused energy push back on that degenerating trend. All that to say, please don’t drop out if you get behind. I just want you to know that this will be much more successful if you treat it as a real, live commitment you are willing to work hard to keep.

3. When you clock in with your verse those two times a month, keep your comments limited to your name (first only if you prefer), city, verse and translation. Long comments on SSMT days are no-no’s. It won’t take you long to figure out why we maintain that rule. Wait till you see the powerful sight of hundreds if not thousands of verses flowing down the comment stream. It is a gorgeous sight. When you’re having a bad day, all you have to do is scroll down a few hundred of your sisters’ Scripture selections and I promise you, you’ll get a word. It’s a very powerful thing. Here is a sample comment:

Beth Moore from Houston, Texas: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” Colossians 1:11 ESV

Always add your translation because so many of your sisters will want to know where you found the wording for your entry. One of the great impacts of this process is how much we reap from each others’ selections. Often you’ll see a sister say, “I’m doing the one so-and-so did last time!” (Yes, you can make a comment that brief. Those can be fun. Occasionally you’ll even see someone write, “For the sake of my marriage, I’ve chosen to memorize…” That’s okay, too, but try to keep it very succinct.)

4. THIS ONE IS KEY! As often as possible, choose a verse that means something to you in your present season or circumstance. This is the reason why we don’t all memorize the same Scripture. We’re not all going through the same things. The more you let God lead you to verses that direct you or edify your soul in your present circumstances, the more He will renew your mind toward your challenges. This is a huge part of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 where we’re told to demolish strongholds and take our thoughts captive to Christ. If you don’t have a verse on your mind or you’re drawing a blank when the 1st or 15th rolls around, you are more than welcome to share the selection offered in the post. That’s one reason it’s there. You might also look at a few of the comments and see if one of theirs resonates with you. I say this next part with a grin: try to refrain from memorizing Scriptures that you think your spouse or your children need to learn. Memorize what you need to learn. That means do your best to avoid jotting your verse on a stick note and planting it on your bathroom mirror where your man can see it and repent of his sins. He probably won’t because he’s got your game. I bet you can guess how I know that.

5. I strongly recommend that you stick with only one verse to memorize each time. (This is just a recommendation and not a rule. You’re free to do whatever works for you.) Keep it simple and meaningful. (If I were addressing you live, I’d have you repeat that sentence back to me so just go ahead and say it out loud in order to nail it down. That sentence could be your best friend through this process.) If you do too many verses or get too complicated, you will soon be overwhelmed and want to drop out. Better to do 24 simpler verses over a 12 month period of time than a chapter over the first month then quit. We want this to be a discipline we practice for the rest of our lives. Think marathon. Not sprint.

6. Either shortly before or after making your entry each 1st and 15th in the blog comment, write the verse by hand in your spiral. (Again, that’s a recommendation and not a rule. I’ve discovered that there’s something about writing it with your own hand and picturing it later in your own handwriting that helps it sink into your memory bank. I’m not entirely sure why.) Take that spiral with you everywhere you go. Read it and read it and read it and read it. Do mental gymnastics with it. Flip that baby over and over. Many women have told me along the way that they’re not good at memorization and I truly understand that. I also beg to offer two responses: First, that may change. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to do something brand new with you. Second, even if you don’t get your verses down word for word, you are still meditating on them as you read and reread them. You still, thereby, accomplish one of the most important goals: captivating the mind to Christ. You just can’t lose on this one. Either way, it has a powerful effect.

 

NOW, about that spiral! In years past, we’ve created them here at Living Proof and shipped them to those who ordered them. But, to our slack-jawed surprise, last time we did it, 10,000 women signed up and nearly all of them ordered spirals. My beloved (SMALL!!!) staff and hardworking volunteers filled every one of those orders over about a 10-day mad-dash and, though they never lost their smiles, it flat-out nearly killed them! We are just too small a staff to handle that many orders. HOWEVER!!! We MUST have matching spirals! So, here is the perfect solution. Watch this tutorial and you’ll see how quick and easy it will be to prepare your spiral:

 

 

There are two sizes to choose between for your spirals.  Click on the size cover you would like to print for yourself then adhere it using any of the methods we suggested. You can certainly use regular printer paper but cardstock works perfectly:

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5×3
6×4

 

OK, I think that’s more than enough to get us prepared for January 1st but I so hope you’ll go ahead and get our huge wrap-up celebration on your radar because we want you to know how to qualify and plan to be there! It is the biggest blast ever.

Our Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2015 Celebration will on January 16, 2016. I’m telling you about it now so that you can have it for a little extra incentive. Our main incentive is the will and good pleasure of God, of course, but He Himself authored great celebrations in His Name so feel free to be excited at the thought. Also, I want you to have plenty of time to start saving your money for your transportation and hotel. We do not charge for the event. Your entrance fee is your well-used spiral. By the way, we will have Travis back again to lead us in worship and Amanda, Melissa, my whole LPM staff and volunteer team will be there to serve you.  Here’s how you qualify to attend the celebration:

*Clock in by first name and city at least 21 out of 24 times. (But please make your goal 24 out of 24!) Let me reiterate that you can be late with your entry on a 1st or 15th of any month but, by the end of the year, there has to be a record in the comment sections of you signing in at least 21 out of 24 times on a SSMT post. Make sense? Please give us 24 hours to post your comment before you assume it got lost. We still moderate all comments and the amount we get on SSMT days necessitates a slower pace. Thank you for your cooperation!

*Bring your spiral to the celebration. Again, that’s your ticket in.

*If you’re planning to come to the celebration, be prepared to say any 10 of your 24 memory verses to another Siesta (of your choice) during the designated time at the celebration. (We get in pairs.) Some of you will be tempted to let this be a deal breaker but don’t back out! Siestas are really sweet and patient with each other and we are notorious for giving each other hints. We can even act out charades if necessary. If you’re one of those who genuinely struggles with memorization, just tell your memory buddy up front and she’ll give you all the grace you need.  Tell her the gist of the verse as accurately as you possibly can. She’ll be able to tell that you are well acquainted with it and that the goal was accomplished even if you can’t say the verse word-for-word.

*Register for the event when the time comes. (December 1, 2015)

Whew! Have I exhausted you?? I’ve worn myself out. Sorry this is so wordy! We just want to answer as many of your questions up front as possible.

I want to say something to you before I wrap up this diatribe: this community means something to me. I love it because I love you. I think about you on an ongoing basis. So does my staff. You are a huge part of this ministry. Thank you for the privilege to serve you and to embark on another wild journey with you. May Christ find such delight here that He astonishes us with His presence, favor, and power.

So, welcome to Siestaville: women walking alongside women on our way Home, stirring up excitement toward that great day. SSMT is one way we do that. AND IT’S A WHOPPER. Let’s do it, Sisters, starting this coming January 1st! I’ll talk to you again about other things before then but I don’t want the New Year to take you by surprise.

I love you.

Beth

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Three Years Down a Dirt Road

Three years ago today, I came the closest I’ve ever come to having a full-throttle panic attack. Melissa was in the passenger seat of my car while I was at the wheel and she started frantically turning every air conditioner vent on the dash straight toward my face. “Breathe, Mom. It’s going to be fine!” I’d worked like a crazy woman for three days packing up our house for this move so it shouldn’t have caught me off guard but suddenly the reality of that huge moving van right in front of us with 27 years of our lives stuffed into it nearly did me in. I wanted to pull up beside it, roll down my window, and yell, “I changed my mind!”

 

I’d raised my babies in that house, stood at that mailbox and waited for the school bus with them, buried three beloved dogs in that backyard, danced with my man on that linoleum kitchen floor, fought with him in that den, fallen head over heels with the Scriptures in that tiny dining room, pulled trashcans forty million times to that curb, cried as many tears and thrown my head back with as many laughs…all in that one house. We’d bought it at a foreclosure price and still struggled to pay the mortgage but not one day did we take it for granted. Our very best friends helped us move into that house. Our oldest kids were 5 and our youngest 2. Our kids played together in that house too many times to count. We were inseparable in those days.

I loved it so much. I declared over and over that I’d never leave that house. But I did.

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Three years ago today, we followed that moving van down a highway on the outskirts of Houston then down one bumpy dirt road then another that my man had cleared himself in order to move us in. He’d had to dig a water well, have telephone lines and electric lines put in, and bulldoze enough trees out of the way to tuck in two houses: his parents’ and ours. They’d lived in town beside us. We wouldn’t have moved without them. Most of my neighbors at my house of 27 years had lived there for decades, too. We loved those people and they loved us. Our preschoolers had played together then graduated from high school together. We could holler at one another across the fence. We had a new fence now and new neighbors who, as you can see, were set in their ways. They only had one word to say to us when we got here. “Mooooooooooooove.”

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We also had snakes.

coral snake

 

Several different kinds.

 

water moccasin

So this became our fashionable footwear.

 

boots

Big Pops and Memmaw soon got a rooster and chickens. It took us a while to get used to them and them a while to get used to us. Big Pops and Memmaw enjoy the eggs but I just can’t eat them. Something about eating eggs from a chicken I know personally doesn’t sit well on my stomach.

chickens

 

We’ve had a few unexpected visitors drop in.  Some of them were particularly delightful.

donkey

 

It helped that our kids started liking it out here. The Jones live in the suburbs about 20 minutes from here and we knew they’d adapt well because their kids were at the perfect age for tadpoles and hoot owls but our city girl, Melissa, lives smack downtown in Houston, Texas almost an hour away. She was the least enthused about our move. Some might even say slightly pouty. One day a few months after we moved, she succumbed to a sudden bout of sentimentality and went back to our old neighborhood to go for a walk there like we’d done thousands of times. She’d even planned to shed a few tears. She called me on her cell phone when she got back in the car and said, “I don’t like it here anymore. Y’all aren’t here.” And that very moment, her heart shifted to the country. These days she makes the trek constantly. She’s fallen in love with these woods and these neighbors:

 

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Living next door to Big Pops and Memmaw means that we have ample time with all four generations. When Jackson is grown, he probably won’t remember that we ever lived anywhere else. Not even that house where we raised his mommy.

Jax and Pops

 

 

Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time with Big Pops myself. Here on the gator. This is only one of three John Deeres on the property. Big Pops planted his behind on a tractor the second we moved in.

 

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We’ve put a lot of miles on this thing in three years. Here with my two girls and our good friend, Crista.

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The idea came to me for Bibby’s Secret Closet here at this new house. The kids never know what surprise Bibby’s gonna pull from it.

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We often have our pastor and his wife over for dinner. We make it our goal to be their favorite church members.

 

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It’s amazing how much he looks like my son-in-law.

 

Annabeth loves having her birthday here. She says she’s always going to have it here. We’ll see. But we’ll take it for now.

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We have a tiny little sliver of water not far from us that you could call a creek if you were in a particularly generous mood. It’s got some sand by it that the kids really like. Be blessed that this is not a scratch and sniff picture because the creek doesn’t always smell all that good, especially if it hasn’t rained in a while. But if your nose is slightly stuffy, it can be pretty fun.

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Don’t think there’s not plenty of excitement in the country. Keith was Superman to this baby hawk with a broken leg that we found on this branch down from our house one day. Flies were already all over it when Keith rescued it and took it in a box to the only vet clinic in Houston that takes this sort of patient. Keith kept tabs on him with the vet and, sure enough, he made it.

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Several months later a hawk swooped down and ate one of Memmaw’s chickens. I couldn’t help but think, “Seriously?? After we saved one of your very brethren???” But not long after that, Queen Esther helped herself to a chicken and Geli (our birddog) followed suit and has thus far made a picnic lunch out of two. Well. Maybe three.

Geli begs to eat out. She likes her food to be organic. Here she had a bad hankering for a double-meat rabbit burger. Cut the bun.

Geli looking outside

 

We find all sorts of critters in our backyard. We host raccoons and rabbits constantly but we also have possums. I used to hate possums because of their pointy little teeth and the way they hiss but somehow, now that we live out here, I feel like I can’t hate them as much. I feel compelled to be a good possum steward. This was our favorite backyard drop-by of all. We got up one recent Sunday morning to this sight and nearly died.  Two more were just on the other side of the iron fence.

 

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Three years is long enough to have lived through some losses. Remember those beloved dogs I told you we’d buried in the backyard of our house of 27 years? We’ve been forced to start a pet cemetery here in these woods now and we are not anxious to populate it. With many tears we recently laid the Jones’s faithful, dearly-loved golden retriever, Beckham, to rest.

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He was, without a doubt, the happiest dog in the whole USA.

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My man and I are coming up on 36 years of marriage in a few weeks. You can’t live together that long and not have a lot of ups and downs. Well, maybe some people can but they are not us. Not by a long shot. We’ve ridden a roller coaster together, my man and me. But we are so glad we stuck it out. We’ve had the happiest season of our lives out in these woods. We loved our home in town so much but, heck, sometimes you just need to move somewhere new. This was from Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. Keith put a fireplace on our back porch and, if it’s lit, our family doesn’t get three feet from it. South Texas has the kind of climate where you could spend the whole winter on your back porch as long as you had a little firewood.

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Just last week our long-since adopted family member, Travis (Cottrell), was out in the country with us and he snapped this picture right before he left. He loves Keith Moore and Keith Moore loves him. I’m mad now that Trav wasn’t in the picture.

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So, three years to the day later, we’re making it out in these modest woods. These acres would not be beautiful to everybody but they’re beautiful to us. Life has been brand new out here. I won’t kid you. It’s been an adjustment. A lot less eating out. A lot more cooking. A lot more driving to work. The cars stay filthy. The raccoons won’t stay out of the trash. Fed Ex never can find us. But we don’t mind. Because it was time to make a move. For us, it was out where the dawn breaks to the crow of a rooster.

 

My heart is filled with gratitude to God as I glance over my shoulder at the last several years. He knew this was just where we Moores needed to be. Out here in the sticks.

 

It turned out to be the season for moving in the tightest part of our social circle. Our very best friends of 34 years bought a new house, too. I don’t think they’d mind me showing you a picture. You know, they’re the ones I told you about earlier. We raised our kids together. They love their new house.

We love it, too.

photo[14]

 

 

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Three LPM Christmas Gift Ideas… and Giveaways!

CONGRATULATIONS WINNERS!
Watch for an email today from Living Proof so that we can arrange shipping of your gift! Happy Monday!

1.    #714-Nicole T
2.    #1042-Jennifer Winner
3.    #1326-Patty Dalton
4.    #873-Kathy Isaacson
5.    #1150-Jennifer Nelson
6.    #542-Emily Stokes
7.    #695-Dea Windsor
8.    #39-Vicky D
9.    #247-Janet from FL
10.    #17-Natashajk
11.    #646-Janet Worthy
12.    #1209-Patti Byrd
13.    #982-Tina Ritter
14.    #391-Tona Hawkins
15.    #340-Karina Allen

————————————–

Hi Everybody! Sabrina here! (waving)

Just in case you are wondering something like, “wow, I can’t remember ever hearing from Sabrina”, you are so very right!  I have never been on the blog before today.  So why now??? Well, I am pretty jazzed about something and want so much to share the excitement with you all.  LPM has a new resource that is on the printing press at this very moment.

With all glory to God, have a look at Breath.

breath_cover_front  breath_cover_back

Y’all, Breath has been new life to me. Here is the deal: a few co-workers and myself do several reviews for editing and design – so we watch it a lot (smile). Every edit review was a fresh breath from God. Actually, I would get so wrapped up in the teaching that I would forget I was editing (laughing).

This lecture study is on the Holy Spirit, “The Life of God In Us”.  The companion booklet includes Beth’s listening guides, along with 6 written lessons by Melissa Moore. These articles give deeper insight into Beth’s lectures with expanding applications but they also offer an opportunity to glean from the fresh research of an amazing young teacher. Beth’s six sessions were filmed live with our local Houston Bible study group.

Thank you for praising God with us about this series and believing God to meet each person who seeks Him through this teaching.

We expect shipment in about 1 week, however if you are too excited to wait until the DVD sets arrive, the digital downloads are available now.

Breath is one of several items on my Christmas shopping list (definitely a perk to have a store at your workplace).  So I thought it would be fun to share those with you as well. I’ve listed them below but, truly, what better way to share than a Blog Giveaway?!

SO, your comment to this post will be your entry to the drawing.  We are so excited to share five copies of each new resource item shown below, so there will be 15 winners!

“Portraits of Devotion”
PortraitsOfDevotion_CVR_WithJacket

This is a 366-day compilation devotional. For those of you familiar with the Personal Reflection Series (90-day devotional journal drawn from the lives of Jesus, David, John, and Paul), this unites them all into one beautiful book.

 

LPM’s DVD set “The Great Escape”
escape_LG

The Great Escape was recorded at a Living Proof Live event in Bossier City, LA.
You can preview The Great Escape here.

 

LPM’s DVD set “Breath”

breath_cd_cover[4]

You can preview Breath here.

 

Since it is the season of giving, if your name is selected in the random drawing and you prefer to ship your gift directly to someone on your gift list, please know it would be our joy.  This post will remain open until 4:30 CST on Friday, December 5th.  Winners’ names will be posted first thing Monday morning, the 8th. If your name is drawn, watch for an update to this post. We will also notify you by email to get the mailing information for yourself or your recipient.

Of course we are glad to help with any of your gift needs. You can browse in our online store here.  Please note LPM’s last day to ship is 12/17.

With much love and many Christmas blessings to you!

Sabrina

 

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The Gift of Memory

I’m thinking today about the capacity to remember. With divine deliberation and unclouded foresight, the Creator chose to fashion the mind of man with memory. To be able to recollect – to re-collect images, experiences, expressions, numbers, dates, conversations, consequences, and encounters – is the champion quality of the well-functioning mind.

 

Maybe being around my family so much in recent days has sparked this subject in my thoughts. I cannot laugh with my daughters across the table at a restaurant without remembering them as little girls. I cannot kiss my father-in-law on his silver brow without recalling him as a man bigger than life in his mid-forties the first time Keith introduced us at a professional hockey game.

 

Like many of you, I have at times completely abhorred the capacity to remember. I still have flashbacks of staggering and disturbing moments in my childhood. I remember a scene in my home in my young adolescence that still causes the hair to stand up on the back of my neck. A song from the 70’s can still stir up the ache of a break up with a first love. To me, perhaps the worst of all dimensions of memory is regret. Regret is the excruciating recollection of all the decisions I could have made a different way. It’s the acrid memory that no one else assigned me. It’s mine alone to own. That I find the hardest of all. I have hated the capacity to remember so much that, at times in my life, I’ve held my head with both hands and yelled, “Stop it!”

 

But today I’m thinking to myself that all the torturous memories I’ve stacked up like past-due library books on the bedside table of five decades are worth the capacity to recall moments that make life on this earth worth the trouble.

 

Like the first time a handsome, jet-black headed young man reached across the front seat of a sports car at a stoplight and held my hand. He held it again this morning.

 

Like the first time I got to be all alone with a child I’d carried for nine months and I unwrapped the swaddling, leaned over her and whispered with tears dripping from my chin, “Hi there. My name is Mom.”

 

Like the time I took the training wheels off the smallest-ever bike and gave my baby girl a push and watched her take off down the pavement, pedaling furiously and perfectly, with blond locks of hair dancing behind her like banners in the sun. I’ve been chasing after her ever since.

 

Like the first time that same child threw a three-pointer. And that time I did a double-take and realized she’d shaved her legs…about 2 years too early.

 

Like the look on her big sister’s face when we walked outside her favorite restaurant on her 16th birthday and a new car was in the circle driveway with a large bow on it. Thanks to her grandparents who’d owned it and saved it for her.

 

Like this morning when I played on the swing set out here in these Texas trees with an eight year-old and a five year-old who have an uncanny resemblance to my oldest.

 

Like innumerable times I’ve laughed with friends until we couldn’t sit up. And prayed on our faces until we almost couldn’t get up.

 

I could keep going and maybe I will on my own but it would be over-indulgent here. I just want to say today that memory is a gift. An exquisite one. An excruciating one.  The same capacity that invites us to replay something beautiful can recount the deplorable in startling color.

 

The point of this is to say that I, for one, think it’s worth it. Even with all my regrets and amid all the flashbacks. Despite all the disappointments and heart-sinking disillusionments.

 

To remember is among the dearest of all human capacities. A sliver of Imago Dei. Over and over on the sacred page we find the words on which we hang our hope. And God remembered.

 

To be thankful is, in itself, to remember.

 

So, today, Lord, I want to say to You that I am thankful. Because I remember. I remember the ditch You pulled me out of. I remember the hopelessness I’ve felt and the fears that I had no future. I remember a time when I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. And I remember that the sun came up the next morning and the next and the next, glistening without fail on a heap of fresh mercies. I want to say that You have been right all along. And that life is such a gift. And it is precious. And passes with such haste. What we can hope is that there would be no waste.

 

And, to those of us who love You, who are called according to Your purpose, You have promised that to be true.

 

We are grateful today, Lord, precisely because we remember.

 

We remember how good You’ve been to us when life has been awful.

 

We remember the light through the cracks in the door when we tried to lock ourselves away in the darkness.

 

We remember that You would not leave us alone even when we begged You to.

 

We remember Jesus.

 

We remember Him crucified. Raised. Ascended. Seated. And interceding.

 

Thank You, all-wise and benevolent God, for the capacity to store up collections of Your kindnesses to us through the courses of our lives.

 

You are good. Your love endures forever.

 

Help  us remember.

 

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A Message To Anyone Feeling Desperate and Hopeless

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