Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Filling the Sheath
I want to challenge you to memorize 12 scriptures this year ---- let 2012 be the year you store up 12 verses. That's just one new verse a month ---- just ONE. And you know, deep down inside, even as you are reading this ---- you want to, you know you need to, you know it would be so good for you. :)
Oh - I know the hesitations that press down on us -- i get it. Memorizing scripture can feel so challenging, it somehow feels so impossible. Seems like something only the really "devout, holy" people can do, right? But here's a dose of the truth for you. If you have Christ in your heart, if you are a believer and adopted into the family of God, then you carry "holiness" around inside you everywhere you go. You are that "temple of God" with skin all over you. Christ dwells within you --- you are righteous because of HIM, not because of you. So "holy" is done, in the personal indwelling of our Savior. The devout part ---- well, that's a choice. You get to choose how "devoted" you want to be to the One who has saved you.
But the Bible tells us that "in this world we will have trouble". (John 16:33) It doesn't take long to realize the unavoidable truth of that verse. That same verse tells us to "take heart", our Father has "overcome the world".
His Bible, God's letter to us, is filled with proofs of how He has and will "overcome the world". But while we're still in this world, we need His encouragements, His reminders, His truths flowing through our minds, to help us overcome the challenging, hard moments that can come while we are still this side of Heaven. At least i know i do.
If we want to be strong, we are told in Ephesians to "put on the full armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11). There are several pieces to this armor ---- but the last one given is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17)
That means ----- every verse i memorize from the Bible sharpens my "sword". A sword that can be used to defend and protect me. In truth -- the battlefield i most need that sword on, is my MIND. My mind can be like an unruly child --- running off in all directions, even though i have clearly told it exactly where to stay. It seems to have a "mind" of its own at times, bringing before me all sorts of thoughts and doubts, worries and concerns --- none of which i want or invite. But if i don't manage my mind carefully, i can find myself down a rabbit trail that leads to a perilous cliff. Not somewhere i want to be.
Over the past year, i committed myself to memorizing scripture. I wanted to give discipline to my mind, my thoughts, my mental wanderings. And so, i chose scriptures from the Holy Bible that applied to what i most needed, and corrected my mind from the trails it most often seemed to wander down. It was an amazing, life changing experience.
When i found myself down the trail of doubt ---- i could recite, "Lean on, trust in, have confidence in the LORD with all your heart and mind. Do not rely on your own insight or understanding". Proverbs 3:5 (Amplified)
When i found myself tempted to be envious of something another had that i had always longed for ---- God would easily whisper to my soul ---- "Jesus said, 'If I want him to live until i come again, what's that to you? YOU follow ME." John 21:22 (Message) My "personal donna" translation goes something like, "if I want her to have that or live there or go there or be promoted ---- what's that to you donna? YOU follow ME --- I have a specific plan for you donna, it looks different than hers but it is no less precious to me... less can be more with me donna" (My dear God, how He does comfort my soul as He leads me.)
When i found myself discouraged and sitting in "ashes", my sword would slide from it's sheath and remind me ----- "Provide for those who grieve in Zion - bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of HIS SPLENDOR." Isaiah 61:3 (NIV) And i would remember that the pile of ashes that seemed to surround me could and would be transformed proportionately into beauty, in HIS hands. (the bigger the pile of ashes, the bigger the beauty to come)
When i found myself tired, He would whisper ---- "Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?" Song of Solomon 8:5 And i would rest as i leaned hard on my Beloved.
When i felt ashamed and weary from having "fallen down" again, He would restore me with ---- "He was pierced for my transgressions. he was crushed for my iniquities. The punishment that brought me peace was upon Him and by His wounds i am healed". Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) And i would remember that just behind repentance comes peace --- peace that HE paid a high price for. Condemnation is not from our Savior. Healing and peace are ---- when we turn to and walk with Him.
I could go on and on ----- but you get the idea.
These verses are stored away in my mind. I don't have to go to my Bible to look for them. I can be driving down the road, sitting in a meeting, talking with a friend, or eating a meal ----- and they are there, ready, waiting to be pulled from the sheath and used to defend and protect.
EVERYDAY verses roll through my mind ---- because EVERYDAY they are needed.
I want you to have this gift --- the gift of life and truth and protection and defense against the many lies and hurts and attacks and discouragements that come to all of us. No one is immune ---- we all have our own portion of "trouble" in this world. We all need protection, we all need to be defended. We all need the sword --- found in God's Word.
For the next 12 months ------ would you please choose just one verse a month, a verse that matters to you, and commit it to memory. Write it down everywhere: on stickum notes and notes cards, on your bathroom mirror and kitchen window, on your Iphone Notes or Text it to yourself and someone else everyday. Just get into that verse and sit with it for one month. Then keep holding it and reciting it the next month as you embrace a new verse.
At the end of the year --- you will have gifted yourself with something no one else could do for you.
Beth Moore inspired my Bible Verse memorization last year. She asked ladies to memorize 2 verses each month. But at the end of the year, i ended up with 9 verses and two chapters solidly memorized --- and 8 verses "in the wings" (not memorized fully but stored up in part). God bless that dear lady for her inspiration.
Would you please join me?
Every month i'll write one blog post about the verse (or chapter) i'm memorizing for that month. I'd LOVE for you to email me or comment on the blog sharing the verse (or chapter) you are memorizing. It's a sweet "gift" we can encourage each other to give to ourselves. And can you just imagine God's sweet smile over it all too.
So here goes -----
My verse for January 2012 -
"May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
I'm needing lots and lots of hope, joy, peace, and trust this year, this month, this week, ---- today. So this is the perfect "sword" for me to pull minute by minute wherever i may find myself.
Please join me ---- come on ---- i'd love to share the sweetness of 12 new verses (or a chapter or two) with you this year.
It's a sure fire way of grabbing hold of His Robe.
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." -Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 NIV
Photos by Maggie
©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe