Saturday, August 15, 2009

Scripture Memorization

I had almost forgotten how important it is to memorize Scripture.

On December 28th, 2008, I was reading the Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore's) blog and she invited her readers (Siestas) to join her in a year of Scripture Memorization. She said she wanted to have a Jesus year and couldn't think of a better way to do it. As soon as I read this invitation I knew it was something I needed and more importantly wanted to do. Joining other women across the country in memorizing Scripture has been very interesting and has offered an accountability factor to encourage me in this endeavor. The goal was (and is) to choose a Scripture to memorize on the 1st and 15th of each month. I am on track and it truly has been a blessing.

This has been a difficult year in my life, so the Scripture memorization has been that much more valuable. It is amazing what a verse can do to remind you of what God has placed on your heart, or a promise He has given. Recently, I found myself at a very low point emotionally and didn't even know how to pray, so I just started quoting the Scriptures I've learned so far this year. I didn't have to get a Bible out because it was right there in my mind. The power of God's Word truly is amazing. When we read in Hebrews 4:12 that "the word of God is living and active," we can not only believe it, but experience it. Quoting the Scripture didn't change my circumstances but it changed me.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Compassionate Messiah

We have been homeschooling our children for the past two years. Choosing to do so was a step my husband and I took out of obedience to God's prompting. It is not something we believe everyone is suppose to do. So, this is not some kind of plug for homeshcooling as much as it is a story about our Good Shepherd.

Just before school started that first year, my sister-in-law Sue, gave me a gift to hang on my wall. It is an antique looking needlepoint that simply says, "The Lord is my Shepherd." She hoped it would be an encouragement to me as I tried to shepherd my children at home (thank you again, Sue). It is a gentle reminder that the Lord is ultimately, the One doing the Shepherding. As I submit myself to His leadership, I become a better leader.

Yesterday, this simple phrase took on a whole new meaning to me. I was cleaning out last years school books, to make room for the new ones. I picked up my sons Creative Writing book and was flipping through the pages and ran across a picture very similar to the one I posted here. Beside it was an assignment, "Writing about an Emotion." The directions were to look at the picture, write down the feelings and thoughts that the picture brings to your mind and then write a paragraph or poem in your journal. The following is what my 12 year-old son wrote:

Jesus holding a lamb in his arms. The Compassionate Messiah

What I think of when I look at this picture is a peaceful man who cares about others first. I think of love and compassion. It is a picture of caring arms holding a spotless lamb. The lamb looks like it's full of joy and happiness. There is tenderness in the grasp of the man that nothing else can compare to. This Good Shepherd is God, the maker of this universe. He looks out and cares for people, even if they were murderers.
- Josiah Ferenczy

Enough said.

Friday, August 7, 2009


After reading the Living Proof Ministries blogspot yesterday, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about dreams. You know, life dreams, not necessarily sleep-time dreams. Although, they can converge. One example that comes to mind is Joseph. You remember, the coat of many colors Joseph! Talk about some dreams. In Genesis 37, you can read about Joseph's dreams. They were doozies. They were also prophetic! Joseph's dreams became his reality, but it was a long, hard and sometimes lonely road.

Though I would not dare compare myself to Joseph, when I was a teenager, I had some pretty grandiose dreams. Some dreams people share sound noble and self-sacrificing. Mine sound self-serving and audacious, even though I believe they were God-given. I often hesitate to share my dreams because of my concern for what others might think. Do you remember the response Joseph got when he shared his dreams with his brothers? Verse 5 says, "Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more." OUCH! Granted, there was plenty of hurt and emotion going on in the background before Joseph launched into his dream sharing. Nonetheless, dreams can be a fragile thing. When you share your dreams, they may be embraced and encouraged, or they may be mocked and disregarded. I have experienced both.

I feel like I have some things in common with Joseph. I have been in bondage (not sold into slavery), but held captive by lesser things. I have been falsely accused along the way by others who were in search of their own desires. I have been in situations or seasons of life that felt much like the walls of a prison. As of this day, my God-given life dream has still not come true. It has been almost 30 years since God birthed it into my heart. Sometimes waiting feels like a prison...

In the midst of Joseph's journey he was imprisoned for something he didn't do. But, "the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden." "Some time later," enter the chief cup-bearer and the chief baker. After interpreting the favorable dream of the chief cup-bearer, Joseph said, "But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharoah and get me out of this prison." All went well with the cup-bearer, but he didn't remember Joseph until two years later! I wonder how Joseph felt in that prison, waiting.

I wonder how often Joseph questioned the dreams he had as a seventeen-year-old. I wonder if he felt a fool for ever believing they might come true. I wonder if he felt selfish for having them because they elevated him above others. I do know this from reading Joseph's story; by the time his dreams became his reality, he was not the same man. Compare the dream-telling verses in chapter 37 to the identity-revealing verses in chapter 45 to see the wonderful transformation. He went from "my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it," to "God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance."

Joseph's dreams came true, but the actual reality of God's purpose for them was much greater than anyone could have imagined. So, as I continue to wait, I will worship and try very hard to learn the lessons God is teaching me on the journey. If my dreams ever do become reality, I suspect God's purpose for them is much greater than even I can imagine (and I have a great imagination)! Surprise me, Abba!