Take Time to Remember

Today’s reading: Proverbs 3:1-8

Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 3:1

Today’s focus: Remembering what we’ve learned

This week’s memory verse: 
Proverbs2memoryverse

This morning, as I was thinking over my spiritual goals and what I’ve learned through Proverbs 1-3, I was tempted to add more to my goal list. After all, if I’m developing a habit for Scripture memorization, why not also develop goals and habits for cleaning, and exercise, and diet, and … 😉

They say most people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after three weeks. I suspect one of the reasons for this is people set unrealistic expectations and overload themselves with too much change without giving themselves time to really develop new habits. This is why I am purposefully going quite slow through my Proverbs reading. I know if I attempt to make too many changes too quickly, if I focus on too many things without giving myself time to really absorb what I’ve already learned, I’ll likely fail. So today, I’m going to really pray about and meditate on what God has already shown me. As you read the following devotional, written by Beth Farley, I suggest you do the same. 🙂

GE DIGITAL CAMERABeth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Proverbs 3:1 NLT
My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, for they will give a long and satisfying life.
My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep from my commands (HCSB).

Many years ago I was called to home-school my children. I had no idea what I was doing other than being obedient to God’s calling.

I began each day with reading, writing and memorizing scripture with my kids and then giving them some time to reflect in their journals. That was the most rewarding time of my life, not only being with my children, teaching them my values but knowing I was being totally obedient to God.

The above verse is one that I remember so well because in teaching my kids the Ten Commandments, I also tied in Proverbs 3:1. I explained to my kids that you can’t have the Ten Commandments without remembering what God has taught you. You can’t have the Ten Commandments without storing them in your heart. We can memorize scripture all we want but if we don’t store them in our hearts with God’s commands then it’s just a scripture memory challenge.

What do you think? Can you memorize scripture without storing God’s commands in your heart?

How do you encourage the believer who appears to be keeping the commands that might be very ill or has lost a job or loved one about living a long and satisfying life?

In joining this group, I am really challenging myself to really take the scriptures and not only memorize but meditate and applying them to my daily life.

***

What about you? What has God shown you this week? Are you applying what you’ve learned? How might He want you to do just that *today.* Find some time today to prayerfully consider this, then write down a few thoughts.

Here are some questions to ponder as you write:
1) How has your relationship with God grown this week?
2) Have you noticed a difference in your attitude? Do you feel more at peace? More joyful?
3) Do you find yourself thinking of God and the things of God more throughout the day?

On January first, we talked about discipline and creating routines. (You can read Jan. 1st’s devo here.) What new routine have you created in an effort to become more disciplined? I’m working on memorizing Scripture, and in my effort to do so, have begun reciting my week’s memory verse as I cook dinner.

One of our Yahoo group members mentioned time was a big limiting factor for her, and she suggested multi-tasking as a way to solve this. I think this is true for most of us. Thinking of the benefits of establishing a routine, I’d like to propose a few suggestions. I suggest you choose *one* to try. By choosing one new activity rather than many, there’s a higher probability this will stick and become habit.

1. Make your shower time your prayer time. If you need help remembering to do this, attach a sticky note to the outside of your shower door with the reminder to pray. Or, if Scripture memorization is your goal, use packing tape to attach a notecard with your verse either in your shower or bathroom mirror. (where it won’t get wet. 🙂 Or you could perhaps use dry erase marker, lipstick, or something else that will easily come off to write the verse directly on the shower glass or wall. As you shower or get ready, recite the verse aloud a few times.

2. This suggestion is similar to the first. Is there a mundane/mindless task you complete each day? Make that your prayer or verse memorization time.

3. Program alerts in your phone, perhaps to go off over your lunch break or every three hours. If your goal is to be more consistent with prayer, pause to pray for five or ten minutes (whatever is manageable for you), whenever the alert goes off. If your goal is verse memorization, pause to recite the verse three times when the alarm goes off.

If you do this enough times, they should become habit, with your heart reminding you to do the action.

On January 2nd, we talked about seeking and waiting for God’s wisdom. You can read the post here. In our Yahoo Bible study group, we also talked about “doing life” with God, or, in other words, of being conscious of His presence, talking to Him throughout the day, and asking Him to align our thoughts, hearts, and will with His.

And today, we are remembering all we’ve learned as we seek to live out God’s truths. We will be camping out in Proverbs 3 for a while–through Jan. 10th, to be exact. I encourage you to read this chapter each morning over the next couple of days, allowing it to really sink in. I also encourage you, when you have time, to go back and review chapters 1-2. Keep a notebook at hand and jot down thoughts that arise as you read.

Let’s talk about this! You can share your thoughts in the comments below or in our Yahoo Bible Study group. We can continue this discussion in the comments below or at our Yahoo Bible study/verse memorization group:
Click to join ProverbsStudy

Click to join ProverbsStudy

Endurance Training

A few years ago, I coached a middle school track team. Most of the kids were there to flirt, or gab, or…Okay, so I have no idea why they were there, but it certainly wasn’t to improve. During endurance training, they’d jog (or should I say, walk-shuffle-jog-shuffle) when I passed, only to resume their turtle pace as soon as I was out of view. Or so they thought. I suppose they never realized the span of our peripheral vision.

The lack of drive in most of the students irritated me, or perhaps confused me would be a better term, but honestly, I didn’t give them much thought. Instead, I focused on those that clearly wanted to be there–to learn and improve.

There was one boy in particular. He puked after every turn-out. Every one. At first I was concerned. I searched the internet for nutritional information, then relayed what I learned to him and his dad. Perhaps it was a salt deficiency. Maybe he was hungry, or hadn’t fully digested his food.

One by one, every reasonable explaination was eliminated. So, I began to watch him closely, then it made sense.

The boy gave his all, 110%, each and every practice. 

I ran track and cross-country in school, and know what it feels like to cross the finish line spent, nauseas and trembling from exhaustion. In fact, most coaches would tell you if you’re not spent at the end of the race, then you didn’t give your all. 

There’s nothing worse than standing on the other end of the finish line knowing you could have done better. Only now the race is over.

The Bible often equates our life to a race. In Hebrews 12, we are told to run with perseverance and to endure rigid training, knowing every tear, every struggle, every exhausting disappointment and panic-invoking computer crash, has a purpose.

Hebrews 12:1-13

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

   “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
   and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
   and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

 When I coached, I focused most on the athletes that worked hard. If they were going to give their all, I’d give them mine as well. And I pushed them hard. I ran along side them, saying, “Faster! Faster! Faster!” during our sprints. I watched them closely, pushing them to their brink, then allowing them to recover just long enough…but as soon as they caught their breath, I pushed them again.

Can we expect any less from God? Would we really want less?

Athletes know there’s no middle ground. You either go after the gold with everything you’ve got, or you get out of the race.

What race has God mapped out for you and how diligently are you training? Are you giving it your all or just trying to squeak by?