Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scripture Memory Team Verse 3

This week, I've been troubled by my own humanity. I'm like the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. One week God performs 10 miracles to get them out of Egypt and literally, the next week, those people are standing in front of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army fast approaching behind them. What is their response? They grumbled to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?" Ex 14:11 (That, my friends, is biblical sarcasm.) The Lord parts the sea so they could walk through on dry ground. No mud on their sandals.

Three days later, they are in the Desert of Shur and not finding water. The water they do find is bitter. What is their response? They grumbled. (Ex 15:24) God sweetens the water for them in verse 25. He provides an oasis in the wilderness with twelve springs (one for each tribe, perhaps?) and 70 date palm trees.

Couple weeks later they are wandering in the Desert of Sin with no food. Their response? (Say it with me...) They grumbled. The Lord provided manna every day. Ex 16:4 By the way, have you ever picked up on the verses in Exodus 16 that say the taste of manna was like wafers with honey (vs 31) and in Numbers 11:8 where it says "its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil." Author Priscilla Shirer writes "it may have looked somewhat like porridge, but it actually tasted more like Krispy Kreme donuts." Forty years of donuts and their clothes never wore out.

The Lord wanted to test them and see whether they would follow his instructions. Would they obey Him no matter how impossible it looked? He led them to the wilderness, just as He allows a wilderness or two in our journeys today. Our job is to yield to the wilderness and learn that He alone is our portion (Ps 119:57). He is faithful and good and kind to those He loves. If the children of Israel had been purposeful about remembering what God had done for them in the past, perhaps they wouldn't have wandered for forty years. Do you remember what God did for you in the past? How about just last week? I want to start a journal specifically for writing down what God has done for me so that I can remember. I'd encourage you to do something similar, maybe a word file on your computer. Then, when we walk into a wilderness, we can grab that journal, remember His faithfulness to us and lean on Him instead of grumbling.

So these are my verses: Psalm 77:11-12 from the NIV. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

Leave your name, city, verse, & version.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pictures from the Weekend

Here are the pictures from the Houston weekend. Because I am technically challenged they are not included in the post regarding the celebration. Read the next post for all the details.

This is one of five boosters on the Apollo 18. It is mind-boggling how BIG this is.

Astronaut Steve.

Steve attempting to land the space shuttle (video game).

Houston First Baptist Church where the celebration was held.

Amanda Jones, Melissa Fitzpatrick (daughters of Beth) & Beth Moore doing giveaways.

My new friends, Leslie & Karlys.

You know, I have a lot more pictures. I'd really like to say a lot more good pictures. But I can't say it and not be lying. Perhaps a photography class is in my future.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Two Versions of an Awesome Weekend

For those of you who like a quick wrap-up:

1. The God I serve is so awesome.
2. A weekend with the man I married reminded me why I married him.
3. Beth Moore and the LPM staff are truly servants of God.
4. I'm glad I live in Idaho.

For those of you who need more and have time for the long version, read on.

It was even better than I'd hoped. My weekend in Houston for the SMT Celebration. I don't even know where to begin to tell you about it. Maybe before it even began.

Last January I was so excited to do this memorization challenge on the LPM blog. But I couldn't get any of my friends to join me. I didn't let that discourage me - this was something I wanted to do. It got hard, picking verses, trying to remember the ones from the beginning (although that got easier because I said them so many times by the end of the year). Then, Beth put the dangling carrot out in front of me. Those who finish get to celebrate together in Houston. It renewed my resolve.

I enjoyed reading other ladies verses, sometimes picking theirs for mine the next time. I read a couple of blogs of fellow memorizers. Then I found one that so touched me, so inspired me that I keep going back to it almost daily. Lord, I prayed, if it is at all possible, I want to meet this woman in Houston in January. I just want to hug her. I don't know how many women will be at this celebration, but I'd really like to do this, Lord, if it's possible.

All through the year, I'd keep asking my friends to join me in the memorizing. I'm sure that by August the thought of remembering 24 verses was a bit overwhelming. So I started asking Steve if he'd like to go to Houston. He actually was very excited about going with me. This was before he found out that fishing in January in Houston is about the only off-season. But he said he'd go anyway. I made plans to have my mom stay with the kids (she lives in Phoenix) and got the plane tickets and registered for the celebration.

Fast forward to Thursday, January 21, 2010. Steve and I fly to Houston for the weekend. First impressions: flat, lots of trees, difficult to navigate the roads. Why are all of the traffic lights sideways? Never did find out. The weather was beautiful, sunny, warm. The hotel was gorgeous. We tried to find a BBQ restaurant that first evening, but the conceirge gave us directions to a cafeteria that was closed. We ended up eating at some fancy restaurant at The Galleria, which is a huge mall. It even has an ice skating rink inside! The food was good, but I don't remember the name of the restaurant.

Friday we visited Johnson Space Center. Had a little trouble finding it. We were thinking by this time that the $15/day charge for a GPS would've been a steal. Steve is excellent with directions but something about this city was sooo frustrating. Not enough signs and the ones we did see were poorly placed. Anyways...the Space Center was so cool. I wish the kids could've been there for that. They would've loved it. We spent most of the day there. Oh, we did make a stop at "the world's largest tackle store". Since all/most of the fishing there is salt water, they had lots of tackle we'd never seen before. And it was big. I'd love to see what some of those arm size hooks bring in. We found a BBQ place, but were disappointed. They used a lot more vinegar than we are used to in Idaho.

Then it was time for the celebration. The church was huge and the hospitality was warm and welcoming. There was a celebration banner, a program printed and lots of pink boas. (Someone suggested we wear pink feather boas to recognize each other around town, in the airport, etc.) There were 507 women with index card spirals ready to celebrate. We represented 42 states (even Alaska and Hawaii) and 5 from Canada. We were connected because of the LPM blog and more importantly, God's word. You could feel the excitment in the air.

I've been to two LPM Live conferences in the past. Beth Moore does a great job making it feel smaller than 5,000+ people at those gatherings. But, this. This was special. I felt like we were personal friends of the Moores. Travis Cottrell was there to lead worship music with his iPod band. He is amazingly talented. Then Beth started teaching from Psalm 119. It was hard to tell she had major surgery last month for all her energy. It was a timely teaching. I know I should say more on the teaching, but I am still processing it, sorry. Afterwards, there was a short time of meet and greet in the lobby. And chocolate cake, Texas sheet cake, to be exact. So yummy.

I was talking with some other ladies, waiting in line to meet Beth. I turned around and there she was. No, not Beth. The dear sister whose blog I've been following. She walked right past me and I reached out and said excuse me. I asked her name and her blog and then my memory goes a little blurry with what exactly all else I said. I'm sure I sounded like a complete ninny. I gave her a hug. She walked away with a friend. I turned back around in the "meet Beth" line, OVERWHELMED. My God had done this for me. For me. It was a barely whispered prayer and yet He made it happen. Listen, there were 506 other women there. Only one woman that I talked with Friday night did I see on Saturday morning. And He did that for me. I still tear up at the memory of it.

I'm waiting in line to meet Beth Moore. There are six people in front of me. One of the LPM staffers came to the group of three I was a part of and said, "you get the amazing opportunity to practice grace right now." They were cutting off the line right before us. They were taking care of Beth as she is still technically recovering from surgery. And you know what? I wasn't even upset. Sure, I wanted to meet Beth and tell her thank you for all she's done in her writings. But my God had done this other "meet" for me and I still couldn't get over it. I went back to the hotel and got on my knees and with many many tears gave Him thanks and praise.

Saturday was more singing, teaching and the chance to say our verses to each other. There was a Q & A time with the Moore women and another chance to meet them. By this time I was so emotional (hadn't really slept good for three nights due to my hubby's cold - coughing, snoring, blowing his nose) I couldn't think what to say to these amazing women, (kinda intimidated & insecure - can't wait for Beth's new book, So Long Insecurity!) so I left to find my husband waiting for me. We went to Pappasitas Mexican for lunch. Delish!!! I wish I could go back. Also, I did get to eat at Chick-fil-a. Want one in my town.

It was an awesome weekend. I am still processing much of it. But I can say I am glad I memorized those 24 verses. I am glad I went to the celebration. I am glad my man went with me. I am humbled by God's love. I am glad to be home with my kids, how I missed them. I made new friends who I hope will be signing on to do memory verses with us this year (yes, Leslie and Karlys, I mean you!). It was an awesome weekend.

P.S. I am new, really new, to blogging. That's my disclaimer here. I can't get my pictures to upload where I want them to. I may be putting the pics on a different post. *sigh*

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Country Mouse Goes to the City

Remember when I told you that I did Scripture memorization with the LPM blog last year ? To celebrate a year of good, hard work, Beth Moore is having a weekend conference for those of us who participated & finished this challenge. I get to go!!!!! To say I am excited is an understatement. It is all bubbling up inside me while I try to go about my daily activities.

The celebration is in Houston at Beth's home church. Travis Cottrell will be there to lead us in worship music - and he can LEAD some worship music, that man. There will be about 500 other women there. We will say our verses and hear a word from God through Beth. There is also rumor of chocolate cake.

My hubby is going with me, bless him. He originally wanted to go to Houston to fish. (that's the first thing I think of when I think of Turns out fishing in January in Houston is off season. Now he's being dragged along to site-see and eat yummy Texas barbeque, mexican and hopefully Chick-fil-a with me (I have small dreams). The kids are staying home and my mom is coming tomorrow to stay with them for the weekend. They are so looking forward to spending time with Grandma. Steve and I get 3 1/2 days alone together and that is priceless to me.

I do feel like the country mouse going to the city, though. A lot of insecurities pop up as I prepare to leave my kids and travel to places unknown. But I am learning to walk in faith and trust God for it all. I will keep saying my verses in preparation for the weekend celebration. It's like whipped cream on top of the sundae, this celebration...REAL whipped cream. The true treasure has been those verses coming to me when I need a Word. We'll have to celebrate together when we get THIS year's verses memorized. That'd be fun.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scripture Memory Team Verse 2

I started a new Bible study at church this week called One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer. I was a little skeptical at first, but after seeing the first video and reading the first couple of days of homework, I am excited to see what God's gonna do.

Did you know that there were two million Israelites in Egypt as slaves at the time of Moses? Two MILLION. I keep trying to wrap my brain around this number. That's more than the number of people who live in this state I call home. How do you organize that many people? The people at the back of the travelling caravan would end the day where the people at the front of the caravan started the day. And yet, only TWO of those walked into the promised land. That's called one in a million. There has to be a lot of graves between Egypt and Canaan, don't ya think? Has modern day archeology found any of those bones?? If you were told at the beginning of your journey you had a one in a million chance, would you take it? Actually, they all had the same chance at the beginning, they just messed up on the journey.

Two people who walked out of bondage walked into abundant living. I want to live in abundance but, honestly, right now, I'd really love to walk out of bondage. I have accepted God's gift of salvation, so I am free. I'm just not living like it. I keep doing the same things in the same ways and expecting different results every time. How crazy is that? It's time to do things differently. The enemy is on to us, friends, he will do whatever it takes to get you to believe lies. That is the biggest reason for me to do these memory verses. I want my ammunition ready and loaded. We have victory NOW in Christ, not someday in the future, let's live like it!

Galatians 5:1 NIV: It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselved be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Leave your name, city, verse & version in the comment section.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Beginnings

It's a new year, 2010, and I'm trying a new thing, blogging. I wanted to start this blog as a way to help my friends (and me) be accountable with Bible verse memorization this year. Last year I joined a couple thousand other women online at the Living Proof Ministries blog twice a month to record a new verse we each had chosen to memorize. It was so cool to see all the verses from all over the world flooding the internet. I believe it was the first time IN MY LIFE that I fulfilled a New Year's resolution! I love having those verses in my head and in my heart.

So this year, I'm challenging anyone who wants to join me to commit God's word to memory. On the 1st and the 15th of each month, I will have a post here with my new verse. Log on and write out the verse you've chosen to memorize. You can certainly chose one I've chosen. But in your quiet time, ask God to give you a verse. Then listen. Listen in those quiet times, to your pastor's sermons, in your Bible studies for verses that really speak to you. You'll most easily memorize the verses that mean the most to you. Then write it down on an index card. (You can find a spiral set of cards at any grocery store or office supply store.) Keep those cards handy - in the car, in the kitchen, near the chair where you have your quiet time. Work on your new verse the first week. The second week refresh your memory with the old verse while also saying the new verse. That's the best way I know to keep those verses in your long term memory - repetition. Two verses a month is very doable. And think, 24 verses by the end of the year! (Well, maybe 23 since I am late getting this on the web.)

For you DOUBTERS who think they cannot memorize verses. I know it's challenging. But how many phone numbers do you have memorized? How many passwords? Birthdays? You CAN do this. Let's put the Word of God in our memory banks and write down the phone numbers and passwords. Maybe it would be easier for you to meditate on the verses. That's okay, at least then the Word of God is rolling around in our heads and not destructive thoughts, even if we don't get it word for word correct. Our brains will be bathed and our ammunition loaded for attack.

Do this only if you want to, not because you need to or "should". We only stay committed to what we want to do. I am thrilled to do this with you. Let's have fun with it!

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

My first verse for 2010 is Psalm 90:12 from the NIV: "Teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom." I picked this one because I need a heart of wisdom in regards to my time management. I only have a certain number of days, am I being wise how I spend them? I don't want to waste any more days.

If you want, leave a comment with your name and city, verse reference, which Bible version and write out the verse. Someone else may want to memorize it next time. I'll be back on the 15th with a new verse. Get yourself some index cards and find a verse. Anybody willing to accept the challenge?