memorizing Scripture

Have you ever decided to consciously memorize Scripture but couldn’t figure out what verses with which to begin? I’m in the process of writing a guest post for a friend and these thoughts came up in my writing process…

I have a list in the front of my Bible that contains all the references we’ve tried to help our children memorize {I think we need to have a refresher though 🙂 the younger 2 haven’t been through them all yet!}.

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I also looked around online and found a few lists {many verses overlapped with my own} and came up with a list of 27 separate verses and passages [2-4 verses] that are a great place to begin our memorizing Scripture journey.

I have created a page with just these verses typed out and a printable at the end from which you can print & cut apart each passage to keep in your purse or hang around your home… and I’ll be posting about that guest post when it happens, so you can head over there and read more about why it’s important to have verses and passages hidden in our minds and hearts!

go to verses to memorize page
go to “verses to memorize” page

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[James] beginning to answer {Ps 15}

And a free download at the end…

James-seriesIn my last post, I alluded to a relationship between Psalm 15 and the book of James…

Verse 1 of Psalm 15 asks a very interesting question: Lord, who shall abide in they tabernacle…?

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We begin to see the answer with verse 2: He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

I like to break sentences apart and examine individual phrases (did I ever mention I was an English major in college?) as well as define words to their most basic meaning in order to understand.

So this verse tells me that if I am to dwell in God’s Holy Hill (His tabernacle, now ME)…

I must:

walk uprightly

to walk means to go the way of, a manner of life, traverse.

uprightly means whole & entire, sound or perfect, in accord {agreement} with truth and fact, with integrity, wholesome and innocent.

work righteousness

work means to make or commit or do.

righteousness is  justness of law; what is right; proper weights & measures [balance]; ethically right.

speak truth in my heart

truth is the state of being true, something accurate based on reality {in this instance, I would suggest that Scripture is our only truth… feelings and emotions will lead us astray every time. We must line up with Scripture}

in my heart… my own heart. I must not try to deceive myself. I must be so in-tune with Scripture that I recognize a lie, whether I try to tell it to myself or another is trying to sway me.

Is my manner of life whole and full of integrity?

Do I walk in agreement with the Truth of Scripture?

Do my works commit justice of law? Are they ethical?

Are my deeds properly weighted or balanced? 

Is my mind and heart so saturated with hearing and learning and mediating on truths from Scripture that I recognize a lie when the deceiver brings one to me?

These are all weighty questions I am asking myself… and I am trying not to deceive my own heart.

Because, as Jeremiah writes in chapter 17: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

…and when I do NOT do these things… my Spirit {God’s Spirit IN me} is troubled and there is no peace in God’s Tabernacle!

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This was my first attempt as using watercolor pencils.

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[James] do not … must do {Ps 15}

Last post I tried to prepare myself for the difficulty of what these next verses mean… There is a reason there are so many promises for God’s strength and grace for us in Scripture. 🙂

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 Diving right into it:

in answering the question from verse 1: LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

3~He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

4~In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

5~He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

So these verses continue with how am able to dwell in God’s Holy Hill (His tabernacle, now ME)… 

I must NOT:

backbite:

slander or spy out against

do evil to my neighbour

be disagreeable, vicious, unkind or unethical towards ALL MEN [“who is my neighbour?” ~Luke 10:27-37]

take up a reproach against [anyone]

taunt or scorn or disgrace–my neighbor [anyone].

{{Is this convicting anyone else?}}

still NOT:

put out money in usury

to be honest, this sounds as though we are not to make investments… and I cannot say that it is not saying that, though I doubt it; but I do know positively that in the OT, God warns us against lending money to a friend and charging a usury [interest fee] but encourages rather that we GIVE graciously to a friend in need… and only expect back the exact of what we lent [if anything].

take a reward against the innocent

a reward against would be a bribe… against the innocent. Do not let yourself be bought. If you have a price, someone will ‘buy you.’

They will buy your silence “if you want to keep your job” … buy your loyalty “if you want the connections”…, etc. We must stand for right and NOT “have a price.”

{{ouch… seriously, is anyone else even still reading this?}}

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and a few things we MUST DO:

In whose eyes a vile person is contemned

This one is hard, difficult… our eyes must find vileness contemptible. And not just that, but the person becomes loathsome to us. I think, this is difficult because as a society, we are so “into God’s Grace” and often tend to ignore His Justice.

BUT this is NOT a license to treat people with disdain or to think of ourselves a better person. We ALL have the capacity to become a vile person. If you feel differently about yourself, I would send you to Jeremiah in chapter 17: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

This IS having discernment. We must not allow ourselves to become calloused to recognizing wickedness. And we must recognize when a person is habitually vile. And we must realize that these people should not be our regular companions… [Psalm 1]

honoureth them that fear the LORD

We must give honor to, make weighty or heavy [the testimony of] people who fear the Lord… and prove it with their actions. These people deserve our respect and, to an extent, our emulation [1 Corinthiasn 11:1]… as they continue following Christ. [Many Proverbs, 1 Corinthians 11:1…]

sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not

We must keep our promises, even when it causes discomfort to ourselves… and not let it change who we are. This is difficult. This is one reason I try to give great thought to anything even remotely like a “promise.” We are bound by our word, whether we actually carry it through or not. God knows.

If you’re still  here… thank you for sticking it out. 

As I mentioned before: Becoming a mature Christian is not an easy path, but God does  promise to help us.

Please share your thoughts on these verses in the comments! I enjoy different perspectives.

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patience has a [PERFECT] work–IN me

I am not lightning quick when I study through a book. I would say a snail’s pace describes me. 🙂

But, I am going to attempt to review a a thought or 2 from a few verses at a time… and there will be several references for looking up, if you choose.
The best way to explain Scripture is with other Scripture!

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James 1:1-12

¶ 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

¶ 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James is speaking to Jews.  But he is also writing to CHRISTIANS… of which I am one. I pray you are also!

And he is starting with the basics… having Joy ~ facing trials ~ learning patience{It’s a circle of events in my own life. 🙂 }

As a believer, my joy will not come from the circumstances around me.

It will not come from the people around me.

It will not even come –from inside me. 

My joy will come from following God

–into and through the storms that rage.

patience

And when I follow Him, there will arise temptations [1 Corinthians 10:13].

…count it all joy when ye fall… Count: to see the end of a matter. We must look ahead and… | when: KNOW it WILL happen

We will have need to rebuke one who desires to devour our very soul [1 Peter 5:8 & 9 | James 4:6-8].

…into divers temptations… diverse: various types- the devourer knows our weaknesses

We will have a fight on our hands…but God did not leave us defenseless! [Ephesians 6:10-18]

But it will be a JOY to us to have these temptations, these tempestuous times, because they work PATIENCE in us.

And Patience wishes to have HER way with us,
in completing a perfect work,
that will make us whole.

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The devil wishes to devour our testimony so that we may not [or so we choose not to] serve GOD. Satan desires that we serve him. Satan uses our mistakes and folly to make us think we are no good for the Work of God.

But Patience… oh, sweet Patience, she wants to bring about perfectness in our hearts so that we lack nothing we need, thus bringing perfect Glory to our Savior.

My friends… rejoice in the difficulties that come... even when they arise from our own foolishness, because Patience works.

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And God can cause ANYTHING bring Himself Glory, when we are following His call. [Romans 8:26-28 & 31]

[EDIT: if you click over here, I have this drawing available as a coloring page.]

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my split personality: called {motherhood}

This is not exactly a “spiritually or Biblically-inspired” post.

It is more a “I wonder if anyone else has ever thought about it this way” post.

And it’s been sitting in my “draft” folder for a while now…

I had a conversation with a sweet new friend last night that prompted me to truly articulate this thought I’ve had for a while now:

Somedays, I truly feel as though motherhood may have given me a split personality {and I am not trying to belittle those with actual mental disabilities here!}.

kids

I realize my children need ME.

But they need ME differently among them. They are each so individual and unique. Yes, I must be consistent in rules and discipline; but things they need, things they forget and need me to remind them of, things they have not yet learned, are ALL different for each one. 

My poor oldest child, she is nearly a young woman, and yet I continue to remind her of things that, really, only her younger sisters need help with. I know that frustrates her. She’s so grown up and the others are still “babes”.

My middle daughter has some food and environmental allergies that sometimes means our whole family just misses out on stuff like… peanut-butter pie… because I just can’t chance it being around and her wanting a taste or being sad that she can’t have it. And she’s trying to grow up as quickly as her big sister, but she really isn’t there yet.

My  third… a whirlwind of a girl. She plunges head-long into EVERYTHING she does. She has gusto! 🙂 And thinks very little, if ever, before acting. But her little heart is so tender and pliable, I must be restrained when calling a warning at her to not sit on her brother, or some other situation that could cause harm to one or multiple people. lol. She will just loose it, and the whole situation will disintegrate before our eyes.

My youngest is a boy. After 3 girls we have a boy. ‘Nuff said.

C.mommy

To those with more children, I am not trying to ‘prove’ my life is as hard or harder than yours… just stating some observations. 🙂

And then, my husband needs a WIFE, not a mother {he already has an awesome mother!}. And apart from “child of God”-which is my identity at its core- this is where I find my primary role in life – to be the best wife for him. If I’m an awesome mom and a lousy wife, I’ve not become what God created me to be!

And I do have a few friends… who like to speak to me as adult in my own right, not as a mother or a wife….

And so, maybe this is a little bit to be encouraging spiritually

… I need God! You need God! 🙂

If God does not help us in relating to all the most important people in our lives, we are a people most undone!

us

If I cannot be Christlike to my own family, how can I expect those outside my family to see Christ in me?

I’m not saying I loose it every day, but there is at least a portion of most days where I struggle really hard not to! And there have even been a few hours all strung together that I feel I {MIGHT} have it all together–HAHAHAHA. nope. not really!

And only bending my knee before His throne will help me be “ME”–a child of God–to those around me, whether I feel SPLIT or not. 🙂

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all in good time

I cannot help but PRAISE THE LORD for HIS goodness!

Recently my family endured some unexpected and abrupt changes. In searching out God’s direction for us, we have listened to several different preachers in the last few months.

It has been amazing to have God teach me a truth personally and then go to a church service [or listen online] and have it re-iterated to me from a different persepective.

God is just GOOD like that!

One such truth is that….

God’s delays are NOT the same as God’s denials;

the IMPOSSIBLE is done in a DIVINE timing!

God knew what would happen. He knew why and allowed it.

{{Sometimes He allowes things that no one understands just to try our faith.}}

God has become more real to me in the last 6 months than I have ever known… and, honestly, I felt close to Him before that. I talked to Him daily, hourly, as if He were actually right there with me–since He is. 🙂

But I still occassionally worried about little things, like money 🙂 desiring more space for my kids to grow in our house, eating healthier… just little things, that require money.

Then we had no income.

Bam.

And there had never been ‘enough’ before, so there was no savings to fall on… we lived paycheck-to-paycheck, with God filling in the gaps… somehow… every month a miracle.

But God’s timing IS divine.

All that previous stretching pennies proved to me that He could take care of us…

And He did.

There is absolutely no way around saying that.

He —GOD ALMIGHTY—literally paid our bills for 4 months. 

And this has brought Glory to Himself in our family!

And honestly, I have never felt MORE peace than I did those months.

I still feel it now…

Because HIS divine time has provided my husband with a new job.

HIS divine time has brought us to a new family of fellowship.

His divine time has introduced us to new friendships to develop.

His divine time has taught me that:

Jesus SPECIALIZES in the impossible!

Because it brings glory to himself!

praise the Lord

teaching lying

Sometimes the words that come from my children truly convict me in my parenting. Recently has been no different, but it has been a particular something… more than just random willfulness or selfishness.

The other day 2 of my girls were playing nicely, politely… and then I heard one utter something like: “but do you PROMISE” to do or not do such/such…

pinky-swear

I took this opportunity to instruct, though I am not sure how much stuck. 🙂

What are we teaching our children when they have to ‘promise’ in order for another to believe what they have said to be true?

We are teaching them to lie.

Sadly, but plainly and simply, we are telling them that you do not have to speak the truth unless you make it a promise!

We are taught in Scripture: …but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James 5:12

Indeed, this phrase is prefaced by a plea to NOT swear/promise by anything. Then it states that our word should simply be kept, thus reliable.

I do not make it a habit of asking my children to “promise” to do anything… but they have frequently asked me to promise that what I tell them is true. I try to make sure they realize that if what I am telling them were not true… it makes my words lies.

I rarely promise them anything.

I either speak truth, or I speak a lie.

We must instruct our children to only speak truth.

If it is unkind, then it is best left unsaid, something we are still learning/teaching! 🙂

But if someone is asking them to promise, they need to know how to let them know that “you do not practice lying to your friends, but you will not promise.”

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There are several ways our Lord speaks of lying, but mostly it is called lying, deceitful or false lips or speaking falsely.

And here are some verses to help our children and us understand how God views lying:

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing [lies]: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. Psalm 5:6

Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. Psalm 101:6,7

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19 [mentioned twice in this list!]

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Proverbs 12:22

God does not want us to speak  lies!

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And some verses to help our children understand how God views truth:

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:1,2

 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Proverbs 12:19

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Proverbs 12:22

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. I Peter 3:10

These are just a few thoughts I’ve had recently when teaching my own precious babes on the importance of speaking truthfully!

We are ALL a work in progress 🙂 I would encourage you to study it out a bit on your own, there are a myriad of other verses in which we are told how much God hates lying and loves the truth!

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Blessings!

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when your world is turned… upside down

When I was was young there were a few circumstances that occurred that turned my world on its head.

Now that yet another situation has turned my world upside down and been the cause of confusion, I realize that:

even as a child I was learning some lessons about God,

about life, about human nature… and myself.

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I may speak about the other types of lessons sometime, but for today I want to share a few lessons I have learned about God… when my world seems turned completely bottom-side-up.

**The verses often quoted from Romans 8 are not idle platitudes:

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered…. These past few weeks I have been so grateful to have this comfort. When my heart is overwhelmed, The Spirit of God intercedes FOR ME at the Throne of Grace!

27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.And God listens.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.… I have seen it before, and I know I will see it again: Even when it seems that God could not work a situation out, I turn around and His name is being glorified and the darkest hour IS “just before the dawn.” While I do not yet see the rays of a new day pouring over the horizon of my heart, I am just as confident in them as I am of my salvation!

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.… and “bad things happen” because this world is a sinful place, but God uses circumstances to mold my life to be more like Christ.

**It is not about my supposed position of service or paid ministry that makes me useful to God. It is my heart being conformed to the image of His Son, so that I may be counted among the “firstborn” of God.

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**It amazes me to watch how God uses us, sinful creatures, to accomplish His will, giving Himself supernatural Glory and causing His Name to be praised!  

Verse 35 asks who could separate us, His own, from the love of Christ... and the answer in all of us should be the same as the apostle’s:

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There are others hurting and questioning over some current situations in the life of my family. I give them these verses from II Thessalonians 1:

11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

**Remember that God has called each of His children to proclaim His Gospel to the lost. That is our highest calling!

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And I pray that those hurting and confused over issues would ask for Lord to **remove all secondary causes** -meaning the human instruments-

and believe that God IS in control.

He wants us each to learn something,

**and the ultimate Glory is for God’s name to be praised in your own heart and life, even through this.

.

One of the hardest and yet most rewarding things we can learn in the Christian life is it TRUST GOD…

…we are not commanded to trust any man or the wisdom of men.

Only trust God.

He is the only one that loved us enough to take the punishment of our sin upon His own body to pay for it.

 

In Proverbs 3 we are told:

3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: …bind mercy AND truth about they neck. Often truth seems to call for judgment,

**but God asks us to COMBINE truth WITH mercy.

4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man… and this combining truth with mercy {goodness, faithfulness, kindness} will bring us favor with man-this is a good thing.

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding

**our own understanding will fail us.

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Our own heart is full of wickedness. ALL men’s hearts are full of wickedness.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy pathsBut God can and will direct the path our lives take when we acknowledge Him.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil

We must not seek a wisdom from our own experiences

…or from a man.

This wisdom is faulty and flawed by sin.

Only fear the Lord. Only live your life as far from evil as you can… 

8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones….

and  your soul will be healthy and ready to stand before Him…

 …even if your heart is breaking. 

blackeyed susan

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