Words Worth Remembering

I have hidden Your Word in my heart
that I might not sin against You.
 

Psalm 119:11

As Christians God’s Word is one of the most important tools we have. It is what we base our words, actions and hopefully our thoughts on. His Word provides wisdom, comfort, and direction. The Bible is a gift from God to help us know His desires for our lives and as a tool to share Him with others.

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Unfortunately we don’t always have a Bible with us and even when we do there isn’t always time to look up an appropriate verse for the situation. I have been challenged by how few verses I have hidden in my heart and one of my goals for the coming year is to put more there. My goal is to memorize a verse every week of 2013 and to understand the context of each verse and how it can apply to my life and the lives of others.

I’m inviting you to join me!

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Early each weekend I will post a verse to memorize along with some context and perhaps a few personal thoughts. I’d love it if each of you would add your thoughts and if you are familiar with the verse perhaps how the verse has helped you along life’s way.

The older I get the more difficult I find it to memorize things so if anyone has suggestions or methods as we go along please share those too.

I’m excited to think that at this time next year I will know over 50 new verses! I really hope you’ll join me!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Week #1 Verse:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

This is one of those verses that I have sort of known but have not “hidden in my heart” until now. I believe it is truly the crux of our beliefs as Christians. When we have asked Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and become the leader of our life we are saved from our sins and will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. God desires that we live a life pleasing to Him and allow His Spirit to work in and through our lives to demonstrate who He is to anyone our lives touch.

But our salvation is not dependent on what we do.

It is a gift.

We can’t earn it.

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Salvation: deliverance from the power and effects of sin
(from Miriam-Webster Dictionary)

It can be a difficult concept to grasp, especially for those of us who like to have a list to follow and know that if we check off each thing we are closer to our goal. Salvation doesn’t work that way.

Look at the last part of this verse. It is what puts everything into perspective for me:

“it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

God knew that we humans would have a competitive spirit in us and by nature want to be better than our ‘neighbor’. With His gift of salvation He solved that dilemma for us. The exact same eternal gift is given to each person who desires it. What freedom that offers!

We can screw up and we don’t lose our salvation. When our hearts are set to please God and serve Him to the best of our abilities we can be assured of our place in Heaven. (How we use the other gifts God gives to us as individuals is a topic for another post!)

Praise God for His gift of salvation and eternal life!!

Please join me this week in committing this verse to memory and hiding it in our hearts. Do you have additional insight on this verse and how it impacts your life? Please share below!

blessings and peace to you as we begin this journey together!
Paula

Week #2 Verse:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 NIV

Micah was a prophet of God. Prophets were usually unpopular both with their own people and those who didn’t believe in the Lord. They delivered messages from God of reproach and correction as well as news of things to come.

In the case of Micah chapter 6 the people were sinning against the Lord and paying the consequences. When their sins are pointed out to them, instead of arguing their case they are compelled to seek how to please the Lord. In verses 6-7 the people are scrambling to come up with what they can do to please the Lord. They want to know what they can sacrifice to make Him happy with them. From burnt offerings to their firstborn sons the people long to know what will please God.

Then Micah speaks. He tells the people that they already know what to do. God has shown them through the ages what His heart’s desire is from His people. Verse 8 is what He wants from us. Yes, we need to confess our sins and follow His commandments. But honestly when we “walk humbly” with Him don’t we automatically do that in the process?

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This week I’m going to give you a glimpse into my journal and the application for my life in this verse:

“It’s so simple really. Yet I make it so complicated and difficult. Walking humbly with You — not jumping ahead or dragging my feet but side by side knowing Your will as You reveal it. I’m sorry I jump ahead. I’m sorry I lag behind and/or drag my feet. How will you reach others through me if I’m not opening myself up to You?”

What does this verse say to you? As you work on hiding it in your heart this week I hope you’ll share with us how God speaks to you and how it impacts your days.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Week #3 Verse:

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.                                                                                             Matthew 17:20

Faith. We all have it…but in what?

We have faith that when we sit in a chair it will not collapse.

We have faith that when we buy food at the grocery store it is safe to eat.

We usually have faith in people we love…until they let us down.

This week’s verse is so important to our lives of Christian faith. In this passage Jesus was talking to his disciples about why Jesus was able to drive a demon out of someone who the disciples had failed to. They were asking Him why He could when they could not. This was Jesus’ response to them.

Since we are Jesus’ disciples to this applies to us as well!

So that means that with faith nothing will be impossible for us.

NOTHING!

…no, not that.

…and not that either.

NOTHING!

This verse is not a ‘magic spell’ that means every wish of ours will be granted. It does mean however that if something — anything is in line with God’s will for our lives, our families, our churches…He will bring it to pass through us.

Do you know how big a mustard seed is?

mustard seed

God’s not asking us to have a lot of faith…just a little. And through that faith He can do ANYTHING!!

(yes, even that)

What is the hardest area for you to trust and have faith that it can be accomplished? Let us know below and we’ll join in prayer with you!

blessings and peace to you as you hide this important word of faith in your heart.

Paula

Week #4 Verse:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
                                                                                                                 Hebrews 4:16 NIV

I grew up on a dairy farm where there was always work to be done. As a child I was fascinated by the equipment my dad & uncle used to accomplish it all, but the Bobcat skid-steer loader was one of my favorites. It was used for many tasks around the farm but its daily role was to clean the free-stall barn housing the milk cows with open stalls and wide aisles. Every day the aisles were scraped and the dregs scooped up and dumped into the manure spreader parked outside the door. It wasn’t difficult but could be tricky to maneuver around the corners. The stall railings were tall enough that the bucket had to be raised to get around them, but not too high.

I’m not sure what fascinated me about that job but as I watched Dad & Uncle Ken I wanted so badly to be trusted to do it myself. When the day finally came I was overjoyed. Dad felt I was finally old enough and experienced enough to take on the task. I boarded the Bobcat, started down the first aisle and carefully began the cleaning process while he milked inside. Things were looking good and I was pretty proud.

Freestall Barn

Then it happened. Rounding the corner I lifted the bucket, cleared the railing, and was home free…almost. As I manipulated the levers to get to the next aisle I turned…in the wrong direction. The crunch I heard announced the tearing of steel as a corner of the bucket went through the wall of the barn. I was devastated. I had messed up big time!

I don’t remember how long it took me to go into the milking parlor to confess to my dad. I don’t even remember exactly what he said. But I do remember he didn’t yell or berate me for being careless. He forgave me and told me to be more careful in the future.

I was blessed with parents who disciplined me but were always there no matter how badly I screwed up. Perhaps you did too, or maybe not. Maybe you avoided facing your parents when you did wrong, unsure of their reaction and fearing the consequences of your confession.

For me confessing to God was not so easy. I could somewhat predict my parents’ reactions because I knew them. I felt secure in their unconditional love even when they were upset with me. But I didn’t have the same security when it came to God. I knew Him mostly as a judge who gave us rules to follow and was unhappy with us when we failed. It was difficult to face Him with my wrongdoings, especially when I messed up the same thing over and over. I didn’t think He would keep forgiving me.

The more I’ve gotten to know God and learned from His Word I realize how much more He loves me than anyone here on earth. God created each of us and is proud of His creations. He knows our hearts even better than we know our own. God sees the motives of our hearts and when we confess our sins we can be certain He will forgive us and then forget the sins.

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His grace will help us to pick up the pieces of our mistakes and move on, leaving our sin behind us and moving forward in His grace. 

It takes a measure of faith, but remember if it’s in the Bible it’s true!!

I encourage you to hide this word in your heart throughout the coming week so you can bring it to mind when you need God’s grace and are reluctant to stand before Him.

blessings and peace to you this week!
Paula

Week #5 Verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
                                                              Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

The road map. A trusted friend for many years and countless trips, many of us no longer turn to them for direction. With the invention of GPS we don’t have to learn to read a map or try to get it folded to fit back in the glovebox! 🙂 It’s a wonderful thing to be able to punch in where you want to go and have technology lead you there with little effort.

But…we’ve all heard stories of GPS snafus (maybe you’ve experienced one yourself) where the GPS takes us to a location other than where we intended to go. Unfortunately the maps in some units are not always updated and destinations unclear. Sometimes the GPS leads us astray and other times lead us in circles.

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Do you ever feel like you’re running in circles in your own life? Do you find yourself uncertain of which direction is the most important for you to follow?  With the busy lives we lead and the number of people and things demanding our attention it can easily happen. Sometimes it feels like we don’t really know where we are going.

Thankfully we have something better than a road map or GPS to direct us. God has promised in His word to show us the right way to go and direct our paths when we trust in Him and seek His way for us.

It sounds so easy in the verse above but how exactly do we do it? By reading His word and developing a close relationship with Him. Talking to God (prayer) about everything going on in our lives and sharing with Him our hopes, fears and questions will help us to know Him and learn to listen to Him. We begin to stop leaping into decisions without seeking His will for our lives and our paths become straight before us.

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Have you had an experience where God showed you a straight path when you were running in circles in your mind? I’d love it if you would share it with us in a comment below. Let’s encourage each other as we share God’s direction in our lives!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Week #6 Verse:

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
                                                                                                      Romans 12:12

Hope is easy when  you are certain of the outcome. 

But what about hope when all seems hopeless? That can be very difficult. And then God tells us to be JOYFUL as we hope. Joy comes naturally when good things we are hoping for get closer to becoming reality. It can be very difficult to remain joyful as we hope for something that is uncertain. Especially when it takes a long time for that hope to become reality.

Patience is simple when we can see the end.

A man I admire once told me that we can get through anything when we know there is an end. Even something hard or painful can be endured when we know that one day it will stop. When we are afflicted with physical pain, emotional distress or mental anguish and we don’t know when or if it will end most of us can easily slip into despair. Patience does not come easily.

Prayer comes naturally when we know what to pray for.

There are people and circumstances all around us that obviously need prayer. Sickness, struggles and sadness abound. Sending a prayer heavenward when we see someone suffering is natural. But there are times our prayers aren’t answered right away. We pray and have faith but don’t hear God’s voice or sense His direction. Being faithful as we wait for the outcome is God’s desire.

While each portion of this verse can be a challenge they each come with a reward.

Being joyful as we hope for something makes the waiting much easier, and the journey less stressful.

Being patient in the midst of affliction allows us to see the progress even if it is slow, and provides a witness to others of how God cares for us and walks with us through our trials.

Being faithful in prayer draws us closer to God so that even when the answers don’t come we are secure in His love and faithfulness.

And I am certain that through obedience to this verse we will find God’s peace in the puzzle of our lives.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Week #7 Verse:

But the Lord is faithful,
and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

                                                                                                     2 Thessalonians 3:3

I am on a quest for a healthier me and discovering how parts of our body work together to create the person who was ”fearfully and wonderfully made.’ (Psalm 139:14) There are so many elements it can be overwhelming to think about how intricately we are made by our Creator.

Lately I am learning a lot about balance including balancing the forms of exercise, how often to exercise, and measuring in the right amount of stretching, eating right and sleeping enough. The comparisons to other areas of our lives are almost endless and have been addressed by many others.

balance

The part of balancing that I hadn’t spent much time thinking about before is the idea of core strength. In order to properly balance our body our cores must be strong. Our body’s core is the abdomen and lower and mid-back regions – the center of us. The stronger our core, the better our balance will be, thus the less we are apt to fall.

In our spiritual lives our core is our relationship with the Lord
and the truth of His Word living in us.

The stronger our relationship is with the Lord and the more we know and live out His word the healthier our spiritual lives will be and the less apt we are to “fall” into the ways of the world and struggle in our daily lives. We make God our core and depend on His strength to bring balance when we feel off-balance.

Strengthening our physical core is not necessarily easy. While the range of exercises has become broader than the old-fashioned crunches, those exercises are not always fun and can cause a bit of pain in the process. But the pain (if it’s not extreme) means the exercises are working our muscles and making them stronger. As we are consistent with our exercises and increase our balance we are able to do things we never could before.

The same is true with our spiritual core. As we consistently spend time in prayer and God’s Word He will become our core and give us strength against the difficulties in life. As we rely on His strength to keep our balance we will find ourselves able stand up against anything the evil one tries to throw at us.

What are you working on balancing in your life? Can we help you find your balance and strength in Him?

blessings & peace to you!
Paula

Week #8 Verse:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

The world around us does not encourage contentedness. We are encouraged to want more and more and to have what we want when we want it. Years ago a fast food chain used the slogan “have it your way”. Now there is a commercial that declares “breakfast just the way I say”.  My dad had a saying, “as a rule man’s a fool, when it’s hot he wants it cool. When it’s cool he wants it hot; always wanting what is not.”

This is so true. When it’s rainy we wish the sun was shining but too much sun makes us long for the cool rains to water our dry plants & flowers. Like watching fireworks in the rain, being content with what we are given is well outside the realm of our society. Honestly, it is difficult for me too.

Watching fireworks

This week’s verse was written by Paul from a prison cell. What an incredible relationship he must have had with the Lord to be able to be content even as a prisoner! Paul found a way to let the Lord work in and through him even when he was trapped in a prison where he had no control of his outside circumstances. But Paul did not allow his circumstances or the people around him to ‘get him down’ so to speak. There is no record that Paul campaigned to get out of prison (although I imagine he may have talked to God about this) but instead he did what he could and sought the Lord for how he could reach others in the midst of his circumstances.

I spent years feeling like a prisoner as a single adult without an earthly spouse with whom to share the fears, desires, joys and accomplishments of my life.   As I sought God in the midst of my unwanted circumstances He reminded me that being single is not a sentence. In fact, being married to a spouse apart from God’s will for our lives would be a life-long sentence brought on by our own selfishness and stubbornness. God has promised He will be enough, even in the darkness and fear. While I still desire an earthly mate I realize that marriage was never intended to take the place of God’s relationship with us and it isn’t something God owes us just because we think we want it.

Do you have times when you feel like a prisoner, trapped in your life and circumstances?

When we feel this way God wants us to remember what it means to be content.

Being content is to be satisfied, comfortable, even pleased with the circumstances we find ourselves in.

It is not pleasing to God when we whine about what we don’t have, or what we believe we need to make life complete.

It does not mean that God doesn’t want us to pray about getting out of unwanted circumstances, yet at the same time we should not dwell on a future desire but learn to live for Him where we are at.

After all, who are we to tell the God of all creation that we know better than He does what is best for our lives?

God is so gracious to be patient with us when we slip into those times of egotism and self-pity. Let us look with anticipation toward the day when we can stand with Paul and truly be content, knowing that we too can do all things through the strength of our incredible God.

 

Week #9 Verse:

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
                                                                                             John 8:32

Truth.

It can be defined:

  • sincerity in action, character, and utterance
  • the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts
  • a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true <truths of thermodynamics>

And it can be debated.

In this passage Jesus says we will know the truth and it will set us free. So what is He talking about?

How do we know the truth?

Jesus was with His disciples and other Jewish leaders (who wanted to kill Him) as He was speaking. Just before the above statement Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” (vs. 31) But the Jewish leaders debated Jesus’ statement saying they had never been slaves to anyone. This is a sentiment we might share.

So how can we be set “free” if we have never been slaves?

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (v 34-36)

As followers of Christ our truth comes from God’s Word and is interpreted for us by His Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts us of sin and compels us to confess and be forgiven. The more we know God’s Word the better we are able to listen and follow the truth.

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The challenge comes when we choose to create our own truth because we don’t like what God’s Word tells us or we ‘adjust’ His truth to make it easier for us to accept and follow, perhaps to make it easier to get along with others who don’t believe God Word is the truth.

But watered down truth is no truth at all.

The consequences of watering down the truth are a less intimate walk with God and a slippery slope towards believing the lies of the evil one. It can happen slowly so that we don’t even realize what is happening. That’s part of the plan.

If you are a follower of Christ I encourage you to take some time today to consider whether you are consistently following the truth of the Bible or are watering it down so that you ‘fit in’ with those around you. It is difficult to be challenged and chastised by those who don’t think as you do. Jesus was killed for following God’s truth. But He did it so that we could be set free.

I’m so thankful for God’s truth. Even when it’s difficult!

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

 

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