Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reading Your Bible Every Day and Scripture Memorization

I went through a phase where I was having a very deep, conversational one or two hour quiet time most days. It was fantastic, and I hope it comes back around soon. With sickness and the Holiday and trying to dig myself out of a hole, it just doesn't seem to be in the cards on a regular basis, right now. I'm nothing if not honest, especially on this blog where my spiritual journey is the topic du jour. Every jour.

I'm serious about reading my Bible. Even if it's only the Proverb of the day, which for me is the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month. I read the Proverb of the day, and usually one or more other chapters of the Bible. This really doesn't take very long. So, even when I don't have time to take a large junk of time in the late morning or early afternoon to essentially have a date with Jesus, to read and journal and talk to Him, I read my Bible at night, right before I go to bed. I'm a stickler for this,  even if it's Midnight and I'm exhausted, I make time to get in the Word.

I used to feel guilty about only reserving my last moments of the day for the Lord. We know where guilt comes from, right? Not God. I say I used to feel guilty. I don't anymore.

When I would do my quiet times during the day, I would often go days without making the time for various reasons.  When I would get back to it, I would go to read, say - Proverbs 13 and realize I hadn't read 11 or 12.  (I find the Proverb a day system useful in so many ways!)  Well, that was pretty convicting in itself, so I decided to get back to my nightly devotions.  It works for me...

Around this same time, I started memorizing Psalm 139, something I've wanted to do and felt led to do for a long time, thanks to this challenge.  I'm happy to report that I have memorized it and I could not be more excited.  I never thought I would be able to do it.   That's why I never bothered to even try. I would open it up, look at the 24 verses, and say - yeah.... maybe not.

Not this time.  I didn't even follow Angie's timeline...  It easily took me 2 or 3 times as long as she suggested.  I got hung up on a few verses, and I spent more time some nights than I did others.  BUT I DID IT!  Finally.  Quiz me if you see me.  :)

So, every night, I crawl in bed.  I grab my Bible, which I sleep with.  Yes.  In my bed.  I'm weird like that.  Before I open it, I recite the verse or verses that I'm currently memorizing.  When I'm done, I check myself.  Then I read the Proverb of the day.  Then I read a chapter or more of whatever other books I'm currently reading.  For example, I just finished James, and II Samuel.  I usually ask the Lord if there is anything else He would have me read that night.  Sometimes I sense He wants me to, sometimes I don't.  If anything pops into my head when I ask, I read it.  If it was me, who cares.  I don't want to miss out on something if it was Him.

Scripture Memorization
While I was working on Psalm 139, I would just meditate on one verse at a time.  I find it helpful to find a rhythm and sort of make a song of each verse, or section.  Some do not lend themselves to it, and it slows me down.  After doing my other reading, I would come back to Psalm 139, and get that "song" in my head and repeat it over and over and over until I fell asleep.  It has really worked for me!

I'd love to hear your tips for Scripture Memorization.  I'm very motivated now that I have accomplished a goal that I've had for so long.

For other helpful tips, visit Works for me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I've been working on gentleness for about 5 years now. I spent the first 5 years of my marriage (and the first 25 years of my life, really) being a big fat B. Which, of course, stands for brat. ahem. I've spent the past 5 years (yes, that makes me 30. ish.) trying to change, or should I say - trying to submit to God changing me and my not so gentle ways.

It's coming along nicely. Not quickly, but nicely.

Probably the most effective thing I've done to remedy this issue, is posting relevant scriptures where I will see them often. Right now, I have Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." in my bathroom. I had to go to Bible Gateway to get the reference, but I know that puppy by heart. It has been really helpful. Incidentally, it's in the Proverb of the day that I will be reading before bed. How about that?

I also have Ephesians 4:29 posted on my mirror. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. " This is obviously more about what comes out of your mouth than how it comes out, but I especially love the part about benefiting those who listen. Not that I have the opportunity to talk to people very often... But still. When I do, I want what I say to be beneficial to them.

Philippians 4:5 "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."

The Fruit of the Spirit is... among others, gentleness. Our Pastor said something really cool a couple of weeks ago. Well, honestly he says something cool every time I hear him speak, but a couple weeks ago, it was about the Fruit of the Spirit. He said "The fruit is not for the tree. It's for the person that walks past the tree." I love it when people say profoundly simple things that are so applicable. When I think of that in terms of gentleness, and interacting with people, (especially my husband) it brings a new urgency to my quest for gentleness.

2 Timothy 2:25 says, "those who oppose him, he must gently instruct." Try that one on for size. Not only does the person disagree with you - they are coming against you... How are you (or should I say How am I) to respond? With gentleness.

As hard as it is for me to be gentle with my husband, at times... You know the times, when you are so torqued out of shape that no matter how hard you try you can't get the tone/pitch of your voice to sound like anything this side of a 7 year old girl who just got stung by a bee? Ah, my husband loves that. Actually, not. And can I just say, if I were allergic to bees I'd go broke buying epi-pens, for how often my voice sounds like that. Is it okay to say that he sometimes has it coming? Yeah, I didn't think so. Okay, then I won't say that. ahem. Right - so my point is, it's hard enough to be gentle with the people whom we love the most (who no doubt have the talent for riling us up the best), but we are also commanded to be gentle to all and to those who oppose us.

He doesn't ask much, does He?

And this, dear friends, is why I take very seriously the following advice.

James 1:19 Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Do you write in your Bible?

I do. A lot.

I've been wondering what other people think.

I'd say writing in my Bible is another one of the things that really allowed me to draw closer to God. I think about the Bible as Life's Little Instruction Book. I don't know about you, but I take that pretty seriously. When I see something important, or super relevant to what I need to be working on - I mark it. Circle it. Highlight it. Underline it. Don't tell anyone, but I even wrote DUDE! next to a verse one time. I should go get it and see which one.

hmmm... I can't find where I wrote DUDE! but I found lots of places with question marks, a WOO -HOO!, an OUCH, lots of these *, a WOW, a LOVE IT!, another ouch...

I found it. Now I don't know if I want to share...


I'll share.

Proverbs 25:24 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Yeah... I must have been a treat to live with when I came across that. Why else would I have written DUDE!?

Have I mentioned that I'm a work in progress?

There are also multiple places where I reference another scripture to look at, cultural information about when and to whom it was written that brings light to a passage, information given in a sermon that made me do that, mmmm.... noise.

In the New Testament, I have more pages with marks on them than not. The Psalms are full of my chicken scratch. I read a Proverb every day and the first few times through, I underlined something almost every day.

I don't write in my Bible because I can't find scrap paper. I carry a journal every where I carry my Bible. I write in it because I want it and everything I learn about it to TRANSFORM my life. I write in it because there is so much good stuff in there, that I want to reference on a daily basis, and I can't remember where all of it is. I know when I was in the ICU waiting room, I used pencil to underline and write all over the book of Psalm. I know that my first year teaching I used a pink marker to underline a lot of stuff. Even if I don't remember when or why or in what color I underlined something, I know that what I'm looking for is underlined in red or has a blue asterisk next to it. I know, because I've read it over and over and over.

It has helped me to hide God's Word in my heart. It has helped me help others in their time of need. It has helped me to remember. It has helped me.

Do you write in your Bible?

Monday, January 5, 2009


Let me start by saying that I believe that worship is a way of life. I'm still working on making it my way of life... The word 'worship' seems to be most commonly associated with music and singing songs of worship, and that's what I'm talking about today.

My weekend was hijacked by a twenty pound terrorist. Okay, not really. Chloe was sick. I suppose she had a touch of the flu. Not a major case, though when she had a flare up - it wasn't pretty, and she didn't like it one bit. Poor little punkin. So, my much anticipated trip to Indy, to see two beautiful people vow to love each other forever, in Jesus name? Yeah - that was off. I can't believe I didn't cry. I wanted to cry. I wanted to wail like a 5 year old who couldn't get a candy bar at the check out. But I didn't.

Instead, I put my sweats on and slept when Chloe slept, which turned out to be quite a bit. I was able to get caught up and that felt really good. I went to church by myself on Sunday, and on the way - I was listening to a worship playlist that I made quite a while back. I didn't even realize it until that morning, but I really really miss driving to work and worshipping loud and long and probably a little off key. I had always had at least an hour in the car every day, some times two. Granted, I did spend some of that time putting my guardian angel to the test, yapping on the phone - but on my way to work - I always spent that time with the Lord. And I miss it.

I was primed and ready and had already shed a tear or two when I got to church Sunday morning. Now, I know worship is for God and not for me, but evidently no one told Pastor Ben that, because it seemed to be all for me. ;) In all seriousness though, I feel like I was able to worship in a way that I haven't in a really really really long time. I'm thankful that things have been a little icky lately. I actually love getting to that point where I literally break during worship. There is something about the Land that is Plentiful that just doesn't produce a need to empty myself before the Lord. Maybe that's backward thinking, but it's just the way it is with me.

We've been in a new church for about six months, and before that it was probably close to a year since we had been attending Kensington regularly. As much as I LOVE our new church, the biggest part of me still longs for home. I miss Danny. I miss Steve Andrews. I just miss Kensington. I don't really know why. Maybe just because I am the original creature of habit? Who knows. Anyway - my point is - things are very different at the new place and I guess I've been slow to really sink in, get comfortable and let go. Well, if I'm being honest, I never really "let go" at Kensington, either.

I suppose I need to back the bus up a bit. I know where this all started. In a pew. In an old school, triple Baptist - stand perfectly still and sing from your hymnal, while wearing only a DRESS, church. Yes. I went to that church. Neat, huh? So the first time that I walked into Kensington, and they were playing Highway to the Danger Zone from Top Gun? Yeah, that was a little weird. But I loved Tom Cruise (at least I did before he flipped his lid) so I went with it. The first time I went to a worship service and saw people raising their hands? Yeah - I thought they were on crack. I mean seriously, where are the hymnals? Maybe that's the only reason we didn't raise our hands at my church... Because we had our hands full...

Obviously, it has been a long road and a very slow process getting to a point where I can worship with total abandon. In fact, such a slow process that I still haven't reached that point. I want to - and I suppose I'm getting there. Sunday, I moved another quarter of an inch toward the goal. Instead of lowering my head and going into the ugly cry, once the tears started flowing, I looked up -or at least kept my head up - and sang even louder through the sobbing. It must have been a sight. I'm very sorry Mr. Guy-Who-Made-The-Mistake-Of-Sitting-In-Front-Of-Me.

The goal? To become "even more undignified than this." I'm on it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Potter and the Clay

I have lots of thoughts. I hope I can coherently string them together to form a meaningful blogpost. I guess we'll see...


I've been losing things a lot lately. It's really getting on my nerves. In the past two years, I've lost a few *major* things, that have absolutely boggled my mind. If I could have the energy back that I've spent agonizing over these things, I could probably run a marathon. Or birth another baby. I've seriously scratched my head a lot over these ones.

The first thing is this super cute Bible. I had it when I taught at Northwestern, and now I don't. I must have left it there. I hope Mr. Whoever taught in room 217 after me either got saved or at least found sanity when he needed it most with that Bible. Hopefully he wasn't too uber manly. If so, he probably refused to read my pink and green SUPER CUTE Bible. sigh. It wasn't my main Bible, it was one of my spares that I left at school, in the event I forgot my main Bible. I wouldn't last 15 minutes in that place without my Sword of the Spirit. Seriously.

The second thing was my copy of Waking the Dead by John Eldredge. It is a fantastic book on spiritual warfare, and I underlined half of the book when reading it both times. I wanted to read it again, and couldn't find it. I have racked my brain, turned this place upside down more than once and have gotten real angry on many occasions. I finally bought it again. I'm still bitter, though. I want MY copy. Where is it????? ugh. Maybe it's with my Bible? I really don't think so, but for all I know - it could be in the Library of Congress. All I know is, it ain't here. sigh.

The next item was actually found, which gives me hope. But it still warrants mentioning, as it was gone a long time and I spent A LOT of time searching for it. The power cord to my breast pump. Can you say Muy Importante? That's spanish for Do Not Lose. The coolest thing is that it was in the bag that houses the pump the whole time. How I searched inside that bag 10 times and never found it, I'll never understand, but again. Hope.

I also lost my bite guard. You know, the 300$ piece of plastic that you sleep in to protect the 300$ crown that you had replaced, so you don't grind it out of your head, AGAIN? Yeah - that one. Anyone seen it? Triple GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. This is a stumper. I don't understand where on this Earth that thing could be. What I do know is - we are likely to be out another 300$ one way or the other and that just frosts my fanny. UGH!

Now. Are you ready? The granddaddy of them all. I may start crying uncontrollably, again. I seem to have lost my..... Wedding Ring. ::deepest of deep sighs:: I've looked high. I've looked low. I've looked everywhere. Although, Frank says I can't have looked everywhere, because I haven't looked where it actually is. Cute, right? I'm just glad he isn't mad at me. I don't need that right now. I don't know where it is, and I am absolutely DEVASTATED. I'm not one of those ladies who wants a new ring every 10 years. It's our 10th Anniversary this summer, so if I were that girl (not that there's anything at all wrong with that girl) then I'd be set. But I'm not. My ring is insured, since we got married young and spent way way too much on a wedding ring, because at that time in my life - that was important to me. I could get it replaced right now, if I wanted "a new ring". But I don't. I want my ring. I want the ring that was at my wedding. Not a new, bigger better different one, not a new replica. I don't know what to do, and I'm still praying that I find it. I'm scared to ask God about it, for fear of Him telling me it's gone. I'm not ready to know that, yet. So, I will be digging through the trash. And probably crying some more.

What I do know is there is always a lesson. I know First John 2:15 says, Do not love the world or anything in the world. I know that Matthew 6:19-21 says, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I was thinking about these verses the other night. I was thinking about being a work in progress. I was thinking how I've come a really really long way, and how I have a really really really long way to go. I was thinking about the Potter and the clay.

Isaiah 64:8 O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Think about Pottery 1o1, which I've not taken, but humor me. I'm guessing you don't make a masterpiece on your first try, right? Think ashtrays. I feel like, in the Potter's hand, I'm an ashtray. He wants to fashion me into something much more beautiful and much much more useful. I don't mean to imply that God is a novice at pottery. I know the analogy doesn't quite work, but frankly, it was a bit of a revelation - so I guess, take it up with the Potter. ;) As the clay, I have to be willing to be molded. It's my fault that I'm still only an ashtray. My purpose is not a noble one, but it could be. If I'm willing to be molded and if I can stand the heat in the kiln. It's not pleasant, but what I know for sure is - I desire to be a beautiful vase, used to display God's glory and beauty to any and all who pass by. For that, I will endure the fire of God's refining.