Did I Fear of Fear Not? Let’s see…

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 13

We all have things that scare us to death or challenge the daylights out of us. I shared in my previous post, Fear or Fear Not? What Will It Be?, how our upcoming vacation would push me WAY beyond my ability to cope with my fear of heights and falling. In that post, I promised you a part two in which I would share the good, bad, and the ugly of how it went. Today is the day I pay up on that promise. I hope this little video gives you a few good laughs as well as inspires you to let God strengthen and help you so you can courageously face whatever scares or challenges you, just like he helped me.

Scripture Memory Verse 13

At the end of the video I explain why I chose Philippians 4:13 as my thirteenth memory verse.

Philippians 4:13, NCV

(If you’re joining me on this journey of memorizing two verses a month, we are over half way there now! I would love to hear how your efforts are coming along and which verses you’ve chosen.

This process has been a huge help to me this year. I wish I had started being intentional about my memory work a long time ago.

FREEBIE: Printable 3 x 5 Scripture cards

It’s not to late to join me! Jump in today and leave a comment with what verse you are working on this next two weeks. I’ve made you a PDF that includes all thirteen of the verses I’ve featured so far. It even includes a cover and instructions for how to make your own Scripture Memory Spiral notebook.

Click to Get Your Printable Scripture Verses

 Fear-Fighting/Challenge-Conquering Checklist

Just in case you’d like some help facing down a fear or conquering a challenge, I’ve made you a checklist of the five things that helped me fight my fears and conquer my challenges in God’s strength during my vacation. It even includes a sheet of verses specifically chosen to help fight fear, overcome obstacles, and remember who and whose you are!

Click Here to Get Your FREE Checklist

Know Anyone With Fears or Challenges?

I bet they would love it if you shared this post and these resources with them. And I’d love to be able to minister to them, too!

And why not share it on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social media pages, too! Who knows how many people you could help today!

And if you’d like some more inspiration I’m excited to be linked up with Proverbs 31’s Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday and Susan Mead’s #DanceWithJesus blog linkups. Our topic this week is “Nothing Holding Me Back.” Click the links to read Suzie’s post and Susan’s post and below each one you’ll find links to many more inspiring articles.

How about you? What helps you face your biggest fears and conquer your challenges? I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Seven Essential “Waiting Places” God Uses In Our Lives

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 12

I HATE waiting! I’m not good at it. So, when my friend Jenny wrote the following amazing post about her experience with waiting, I drank it up. She captures the raw emotions and tangled thoughts that go along with the waiting process. I found her observations and her “don’t hide your crazy” style so powerful, I just had to share her post with you!

()ptimized_Featured_Image_WaitingPlace

Photo courtesy of iStock Photo.com © justinkendra

Jenny and her family are missionaries overseas. You might think there are some typos in her post, but they are there intentionally. You see, where she is serving, the emails and such are subject to censorship. And God is a no-no word. So, she has to type it using a zero for the “o” so it flies under the radar.

I hope you love her post as much as I did. And if you do, be sure to leave her an encouraging comment on her blog! We writers LOVE to know if what we have agonized over matters to anyone or makes a difference. I know she would appreciate hearing from you.

Just click on the image of her post below to open it in your browser.

Jennys Post on Waiting-BLOG

 Scripture Memory Verse 12

On (or the first Monday after) the first and the fifteenth of each month I’m posting a verse I’m committing to memory. Scripture memorization is a challenge for me, but I made the decision at the beginning of the year to meet that challenge head on. So, if you’re joining me on the 2015 Scripture Memory Team, here is my verse 12.

Want to read it in context over on BibleGateway.com? Click here to read the third chapter of Lamentations.

Click to Get Your Printable Scripture Verses

How about you? Leave me a comment and let me know what verse(s) you’re working on right now. Or, how do you handle your waiting places? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Fear or Fear Not? What Will It Be?

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 11

Fear not! God tells us some version of that sentiment repeatedly in his Word. So why do I find it so hard to heed his admonition? I’m no longer a worrier about most things; I’ve had over twenty-five years of diligent practice overcoming my worry-wart nature. But there are still a few situations that get my knees to knocking and my heart racing.

And try as I might to get the rational upper hand over these irrational phobias, I just can’t seem to pin them to the mat. So what’s a girl to do? I’ve decided to saddle up anyway!

"Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway.--John Wayne

Photo by Elizabeth Haslam (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Duke Sounds a Bit Like Isaiah

John Wayne’s philosophy actually echos God’s Word (just with a bit more cowboy swagger). Today’s memory verse provides a good example. Through the prophet Isaiah, God told his people:

Isaiah 41:10, NASB

There were rational as well as irrational reasons for the people to be terrified. But God called them to look to him and let him help them through the fearful circumstances.

When God commands, “Do not fear” I don’t believe he intends to shame us for feeling the fear. He created us with the fight or flight response for a good reason. Many times, fear is an appropriate response and gives us the sense and strength to avoid disaster. He doesn’t deride us for feeling the emotion he gave us.

Rather, the Lord exhorts us to not bow down to fear and allow it to control us. The feelings are, in many cases, natural. But our emotions can’t have the final say in our decisions and actions.

God doesn’t want me to let my churning guts and wobbling legs sideline me. Instead, “Fear not, for I am with you” is his way of saying, “Get the saddle cinched up girl, we’ve got places to go. Follow me!”

And he never says I have to lead out. He rides ahead of me (as well as beside, behind me, and even within me). With eyes on him, not on the feelings and “what if” scenarios, I am called to act in his strength, with his help, and get on with life.

Grab your printable memory verses

If you want to work on memorizing Isaiah 41:10 along with me, grab the updated printout of the memory verse cards, just click the image or button below and I’ll send it to you so.

Click to Get Your Printable Scripture Verses

P.S. Originally, this was a very long post. I’ve since split it into two separate posts. So if you read the comments below and want to know about the stories they reference, check out my other post: Why Facing Fear is Better than Living With Regret.

How to Triumph Over Trials

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 10

Why is it that some can experience extremely trying circumstances and still remain full of hope? You know the kind of people I mean? Those not in denial of reality, but rooted in a confidence that transcends the reality of the situation. I know several people who embody the exhortation in today’s memory verse: Romans 12:12. The situations are different for each one but the common theme I see in their lives is they have a rock solid faith that empowers them to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12, NIV

Two Examples

Today, I read the blog of a friend whose husband had a severe stroke five years ago. Every time I read her words I am humbled by her faith and attitude of joy. She authentically shares their challenges and doesn’t gloss over the grief and frustration involved. But even in the hardest of times, she ends each post with a prayer full of trust and submission to the Lord.

Another person who comes to mind is Michele Cushatt, author of Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life. I’ve been following Michele’s blog and her podcast with Michael Hyatt for some time now. I love her writing and outlook on life. In her story, one finds a woman whose life is turned upside down by cancer and the decision to take in two children in need of a loving home. The brutal honesty of her emotions is matched only by the beauty of her faith.

If you want a peek inside a Romans 12:12 life, read Michele’s book. And just as her book was being released, Michele experienced a reoccurrence of her cancer. Instead of attending launch parties and celebrating the arrival of her book, she was recovering from major surgery and aggressive radiation and chemo treatments. But what do you see in her posts on her blog and social media? Stories of a believer moving forward in hope, bearing up under the affliction, and continually turning to God in prayer.

Both of these women live as Paul instructs in Romans 12:12. Theirs is an honest life of joy, hope, perseverance, and steadfast communion with God in the midst of the mess of real life.

The Joyful Hope

Our hope as Christians is not that the circumstances will change. They might, but they might not.

The world thinks of hope as wishful thinking. Hope for the best, expect the worst. But hope for the believer is different. Our hope, to quote an old hymn, is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Our hope brings with it joy and peace because it is certain. We hope for the best in the expectation that God has already secured its outcome. Ours is a joy not tied to fickle circumstances, but a faithful God.

Believers are equipped to bear up under the trials, troubles, and tribulation of this world not because they are strong, but because the One in them is strong. They take to heart the words of Jesus in John 16:33 (our Memory Verse #6):

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

A Different Kind of Patience

In the movie the Princess Bride, the character Vizzini keeps using the word inconceivable. And his hired swordsman, Inigo, responds with “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

Inigo_Montoya_with_margins
We might say the same thing to Paul when he says for us to be patient in affliction. But Paul knows what he is talking about. He was intimately acquainted with suffering. And he was able to endure it because he relied on the Holy Spirit’s power, not his own.

We tend to think of patience as “not minding” a delay, irritation, or hardship; to accept it and not struggle with it. But the word Paul used includes within its meaning the concept of suffering. It is more along the lines of our word persevere.

God calls to us to not give up. He will sustain us. I used to scratch my head in befuddlement whenever I heard someone say of someone exercising what we think of as patience, “They have the patience of Job.” I wanted to ask them, “Have you ever read the book of Job?”

Job doesn’t take his affliction in stride, never complaining or becoming angry, frustrated, or distraught. He has a strong emotional response. But he takes his response to God. He leans into God. And even though he doesn’t get the answer he wants from God, he gets the presence and self-revelation of God. And it is enough to sustain him (and humble him).

Paul isn’t saying we won’t or can’t struggle under the weight of our troubles. He is saying we can endure them when we are in Christ.

Continued Prayer

Those who are joyful in hope and patient in affliction are so because they tap into God’s strength through continual prayer. They put their burdens in the hands of the One capable of carrying it. They sit in his presence and receive the grace and mercy they need to persevere.

If you read Paul’s writings you will notice how vital prayer was to his endurance. And when you read the Gospels, you will notice how essential it was for Jesus. Why would we think we don’t need prayer to be infused in our daily lives?

Lean In

The response to last week’s post, How I Made Peace with the Mystery of Suffering, was eye-opening. It was shared more than any other post I’ve written. The struggle with suffering struck a chord.

So many people are going through painful circumstances and need the strength to not only endure, but to do so with hope.

If you are in the midst of a storm, I pray that you will meditate on today’s verse and allow God to pour into you his hope, strength, and faithful presence.

And if you aren’t, I encourage you to reach out to someone who is and put Memory Verse # 5, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, into practice.

Click to Get Your Printable Scripture Verses

How about you? What about Paul’s words challenge you or encourage you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Will You Build on Solid Rock or Shifting Sand?

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 9

I sure wish it was as easy as hearing the words to make them effective in our lives. If it were I’d be rocking a beach-ready body right now given all the diet and exercise books I’ve read over the years. Unfortunately, I actually have to put into practice what those books tell me if I want the outcome they promise. And it is exactly the same when it comes to the words of Jesus. We can read and even memorize the Bible, but if we don’t put the words into effect in our lives, they won’t change us. However, unlike the diet books, I don’t have to depend on my willpower to put into practice the words of Jesus.

Matthew 7:24, NIV

When he talked about his followers producing results in keeping with his commands, Jesus usually tied fruitful obedience to being in relationship with him. I first noticed that connection when I studied John 15. There, he used the analogy of a grapevine and its branches to illustrate how the power to produce results (fruit) comes from the branch remaining in the vine. And I noticed it again in the context of today’s memory verse: Matthew 7:24.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

Jesus wrapped up his Sermon on the Mount with another great analogy. This time, he compared one who not only heard his words but put them into practice to a wise man who built his house on a foundation of solid rock. He contrasted this wise person with the foolish person who built upon the shifting sand instead.

If one looks only at these verses (Matthew 7:24-27), it may seem as though putting the words into action is all about outward obedience. But we know that can’t be Jesus’ point here because the entire sermon stressed that right actions without right relationship are powerless to transform and save us.

Outward Obedience Isn’t Enough

Throughout his sermon, he contrasted the lives of the scribes and Pharisees (religious leaders of his day) with the lives of true citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Those listening probably thought none were more fastidiously obedient than the Pharisees. They devoted their entire lives to the study and practice of the Law. And these leaders weren’t just grading their own papers; they were all up in everyone else’s business, too.

The Pharisees compared the actions of others with their own meticulous obedience. And these men assessed not only how well people put into practice God’s instructions in the Scripture, but also whether they complied with all the add-ons the religious leaders had piled on over the years.

Jesus’ words likely shocked those listening to him. He said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20, NIV) How could anyone do better than those guys? Is there no hope?

But Jesus had in mind a different righteousness. Rather than self-righteousness that resulted from one’s outward compliance, Jesus called for a righteousness dependent on him.

Instead of willpower, we need Spirit power. Instead of pride and self-confidence, we need humility and a recognition we can not, on our own, be obedient. We must be in relationship with Christ if we are to live as his disciples.

Relationship Required

Our putting into effect his words is all about our being in relationship with him. Transformation happens in the relationship. And it happens from the inside out: first our hearts are changed, then our actions change.

Notice what Jesus said just before the analogy of the two builders; read Matthew 7:15-23. The fruit we produce matters, but not because it earns us a ticket to heaven. The actions matter because they reveal the state of our heart!

The relationship, not the actions, are of primary importance. We can do all kinds of religious and/or good actions and yet not know Jesus. Those actions are powerless to transform our hearts into the hearts of citizens of his kingdom. On the other hand, knowing Jesus can’t help but result in changes in our actions.

Knowing Jesus is different than knowing about him. Knowing Jesus means we depend on his righteousness not ours to save us, and it involves fellowshipping with and learning from him how to be his disciples.

When we build our house on the rock, we build a faith on the rock solid foundation of knowing Jesus. We are on secure ground when we recognize our inability to be righteous apart from his righteousness. When the rains come, the streams rise, and the wind blows against us, we will stand, not in our strength but in his!

However, if we place our hope on the shifting sands of our own righteousness a great and tragic crash is the only possible outcome. Our strength of will is no match for the storm of sin.

A heart changed by the grace and mercy of God produces a will surrendered to Jesus’ will. And when our will is surrendered to his, we live as he calls us to live—not in our power but in his.

How about you? What Scripture verses are you working on and what helps you with your memory work? I would love to hear your ideas! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

A Freebie Download

 


I’ve been using a little 3×5 index card spiral to work on my memory verses. As I’ve said before, I struggle with memorizing Scriptures. So, I’m trying lots of different things to help me get the words fixed in my brain. I’ve found visual cues help jog my memory. So I’ve pasted the graphics I made for the memory verse blog posts into my little spiral. Picturing the various graphics with their bolded words or banners and such, helps me when I get stuck.

You may or may not be working on the same verses, but I thought I’d share my memory verse cards with you in case you find it helpful.

Click Here to Get Your Printable Verses

Then print the two pages out and cut into the individual cards. I’ve sized them to fit on a 3×5 index card. And I’ve also included the image of Psalm 119:11 which I used on the cover of my spiral.

Do You Know Who You Really Are?

2015 Scripture Memory Team Verse 8

Have you ever sat and contemplated your identity? I mean, really thought about who you are and the implications of the answer. If you are a believer, today’s Scripture memory verse, John 1:12, explicitly defines your identity. And who you are determines how you live and relate with others.

John 12:1 NIV

If we let the reality of who we are sink in, transformation in how we live our lives naturally occurs. As his child, I am held secure by the everlasting love, faithfulness, and protection of my Heavenly Father. I look to him to know how to live and relate with others.

So my reality is I am a child of God. This is who I am as a believer. So why is it so easy to lose sight of this reality and fall back into old patterns of thinking and behaving?

What stops me from being who I am?

At least three factors conspire against my believing that reality:

Continue Reading »

Is This the Abundance Jesus was Talking About?

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 7

One of my most popular posts, Don’t Hide Your Crazy, is grounded in my experience of John 10:10. I know this verse’s content but I don’t yet have it memorized so that it rolls off easily, word for word. Since this verse is the foundation for an upcoming retreat, I decided it was high time to get it down pat so I’ve chosen it for my seventh memory team verse. I’ve been reflecting and meditating on this verse quite a bit lately. What exactly does Jesus mean by having life more abundantly?

John 10:10 ESV

Our culture today is absolutely obsessed with the concept of more. We want more stuff, more time, more money, more attention, more likes, followers, and friends. More, more, more.

Our schedules are jam-packed, and our closets and garages are so crammed many rent storage units just to hold all the more we have amassed. Whereas the typical soft drink used to be 12 ounces, now at many places, a small is 24 ounces. And the larger portions have led to more inches on our waistlines.

I don’t think this is what Jesus meant by having life abundantly.  More for the sake of more is not abundance, it is just excess.

A Different Kind of Abundance

The key to understanding this statement is understanding what Jesus came to give us more and more of: life. Apart from Christ we have life in the sense of existence; in the Greek the word is bios.  We have physical life. But that isn’t the life Jesus speaks of in John 10:10. So what kind of life does Jesus offer us?

Continue Reading »

Take Heart! Trouble is Inevitable but in Christ so is Peace

2015 Scripture Memory Team Verse 6

It is inevitable that we will have struggles and difficulty in this world. It is a fallen world. But God does not leave us to flounder and fail. He has stepped in and made a way for us to overcome the impact and influence of the world around us and the sinful nature within us. When we accept his way, he gives us a new heart. The words Jesus spoke to his disciples on the night before his crucifixion convey this hope. We just need to take hold of it. That is why I’ve chosen John 16:33 as my next memory verse.

John 16:33, NIV

I want to experience God’s peace in the midst of pain, his calm in the midst of crisis, and his love in the midst of loneliness.

Unfortunately, my natural reaction when the waves of this world crash upon my shores, is to try to withstand the onslaught in my own strength. I won’t overcome the world in my strength, and God doesn’t ask me to. Etching these words into my brain will help me remember that.

I will experience peace when I am in him. When I walk in relationship with him and let him into my life, peace is the natural outcome.

This seems foolish to those who haven’t experienced it. But I’ve experienced it and know it is true. Jesus offers us a new heart. One able to bear up under whatever this world throws at us. Take heart! Take the new heart he offers.

We overcome because he has overcome on our behalf and we are in him. And in him, we have a peace the world can never provide.

Want to join me in committing two verses a month to memory? Join the Scripture Memory Team! You can jump in at anytime and do as much or as little as you like. I’d just love to have you accompany me on the journey.

 

Click Here to Get Your Printable Verses

How about you? How is your Scripture memory work coming along? What verse are you working on this week? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Comforted by God so that We Can Comfort Others

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 5

We are blessed to be a blessing and comforted so that we can comfort others with the comfort God has provided us. In this way, we are given the profound privilege of participating with God in bringing the kingdom of heaven into the here and now.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV

As I considered which verse I wanted to tackle next in my memorization work, I chose one that has been a favorite for a long time. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 is one I can say some of already but have never really committed it to memory. No time like the present, right?

One of my biggest struggles with memorization is remembering the reference. Anytime numbers are involved my brain turns to Teflon and things just won’t stick. So, I’ve always had to use a concordance to find this verse when I wanted to use it or refer to it. So, why not just put in a bit of effort and have it and the reference ready to use in the moment?

Click Here to Get Your Printable Verses

Question: What verse or verses do you love but haven’t yet committed to memory? I’d love to have you share in the comments and also come alongside me as I conquer my difficulty with Scripture memorization. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Speaking the Truth in Love

2015 Scripture Memory Verse 4

I’m working on my goal of memorizing 24 verses this year. I’m doing this as part of Beth Moore’s Scripture Memory Team and would love to have you join me in the adventure. It isn’t to late!

I’ve always struggled with memorization, but this is really helping. And rather than drudgery or a sense of duty, I’m approaching this as an adventure in drawing closer to Christ.

As I depend on him to etch his wisdom into my brain, I’m building so much more than a reserve of words to draw upon in my time of need. I’m building up trust and dependency on the One who equips me to do whatever he calls me to do. So, here is my fourth verse:

0ptimized Featured Image_Eph4_15NIV

If you want to join in the adventure, leave a comment below with your name, city/state, the text of your verse, and the reference including translation. So for example, mine would be:

Laura Naiser, Georgetown, TX, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is Christ.” Ephesians 4:15, NIV

You can pick whatever verse God puts on your heart. Click here and review the instructions for joining the MIRM Scripture Memory Team. Or, just jump in whenever you can and participate in the comments.

If you’d like to see the verses I’ll be working on, you can get a printout (with instructions for transforming it into a 3×5 spiral) of them by clicking the button or image below.

Click Here to Get Your Printable Verses