The Reading of the Word…

What a beautiful day it is when words come to life! In my daily reading plan this week I was directed to the book of Nehemiah. Having studied it this summer, the reading was fresh and alive!

It was particularly poignant as I listened to the Daily Audio Bible podcast present the Nehemiah passage.

Ezra, a high priest and scribe, read the words of the law to the Jews after the demolished walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt under Nehemiah’s leadership. The people gathered and listened attentively for hours after the repair of the walls was complete. (I guess that was quite a podcast!)

In those days the literacy rate is thought to have been less than 10% throughout the world. Hearing was the only way that most would know God’s teachings and their history.

I appreciate our access to the scriptures and so many other writings. It wasn’t long ago when few people could read. Even today it is estimated that 18% of the world’s population over age 15 are illiterate. That is almost 1 out of every 5 people!

To think that I have dozens of versions of the Bible available at my fingertips! What a treasure….but even having the it at my fingertips and with me virtually all the time doesn’t make me immune from being like the Jews who intently listened to the word, repented and made serious commitments to God – then after life became comfortable and they were settled and satisfied many lost their ferver and devotion…May that not be you and me.

Oh Lord, forgive us for our apathy and forgive us where we don’t shine your light and live for your glory. Let us be your hands and feet in the world and help us rebuild where you call us to rebuild as Nehemiah did. Let us honor your word and your ways. Let us feed those who are physically and spiritually hungry. Let us look after orphans and widows in distress. Let us be a people who are devoted to you. Keep us from distractions that pull us away from your plan and direction. Give us strength. 

Below are two often quoted powerful Nehemiah verses. (If you are on this scripture memorization journey with me you may want to consider them for memory verses).

This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10 NIV

I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Neh. 6:3 NAS

Prayers that we do the great work we are called to do this day and every day. -Madge

It’s the Little Things Like Sherbet (scripture memory #11)

It was just a receipt…an old receipt that I dug out of my purse yesterday as I organized its contents. There were other crumpled receipts I quickly discarded at first glance, but this one gripped me.  I had to save the Walgreens receipt for a pint of orange sherbet.

I bought it after a hospice visit with Dad F. and his son John. John read Ephesians for an hour and we all talked about it…well John and I talked…Dad wrote on his board because he had a tracheotomy and couldn’t speak. I sat next to the hospital bed reading Dad’s comments about the scriptures and his comments about our comments as John sat in the cozy chair across the room loudly reading The Book for Dad’s hearing-impaired ears.

When we finished at 3:00 Dad used his small white board to tell us that he wanted some orange sherbet. Even with his new trach and feeding tube he said Teri his nurse thought it would be fine to try some sherbet. I talked to Teri and rolled across the street to the Walgreens…praying they’d have it so I wouldn’t need to make a trip to the grocery store. I was on a mission for orange sherbet.

The large freezer had what seemed like hundreds of varieties of ice cream. I looked and looked and finally spotted the ONLY sherbet in the freezer – and it was ‘Orange’! I rolled the cold treat to the hospice and gave it to Teri to give Dad later.

Little did I know that the few spoons of sherbet Teri gave him in tiny little pieces that night would be the last earthly taste to his tongue. Later she told me he enjoyed it as they visited that evening. Dad really liked Teri…she has a special ministry.

He was so vibrant that day and the next morning when he got up and shaved and enjoyed bible study and prayer with his best friend, Paul.  Then suddenly, he was in a comatose state for less than 24 hours before he passed.

Daily my prayers include Mom F. and the family as they live here on earth without him.  Since we were reading Ephesians I am sharing some favorite verses for potential scripture memory this time…

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17 NIV)

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:17, 18 NIV)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17 NIV)

He was a father to so many, he knew how to make everyone feel loved and welcome.  I’ll never look at Ephesians or orange sherbet in quite the same way…


It’s March! Time for Scripture Memory Verse #5

What? It’s already March? It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has flown by but easy to believe when you walk (or roll) outside and have 74° weather! I’m so cold natured that appreciation flows easily even when my body is asking me to remove a layer or two!

The advent of spring means the promise of fresh, new growth and so does our scripture memorization! Come on and join me with a verse – you can do it and I promise you won’t be sorry. Pick your own verse or join me with mine:

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives… Col. 1:9 (NIV)

Last year my first March verse was short, sweet, and powerful:
                                 March on my soul, be strong. Judges 5:21 (NIV)
I distinctly remember driving quite a distance to a meeting muttering that little verse over and over on a cool March evening.  I was sleep deprived and weak, but this verse brought strength to my body and soul.

How ’bout a few memorization tips?

  • Set aside regular time – like exercise, brushing teeth, or bedtime with your kids (and their sponge minds!)
  • Use bits of potentially unproductive time like stopping at red lights, waiting for appointments or the carpool…or heaven forbid, ten minutes of television!
  • Be encouraged. You can do it!  I’m cheering you on and praying for you!
  • Get a pawtner – Life’s more fun with friends, and a partner is great for accountability and comradery.


The Bible Comes Alive – Scripture Memory #4

I can’t tell you what blessing and power has come through scripture memory this year. It’s probably because I’ve been more focused and spent more time with it than ever before. My love for the word of God grows with each word that is tucked deeply in my head and heart. Etching those precious verses into the portals of the brain seems to light a fire within the heart.  I stand (I mean sit! – haha) in complete agreement with with Proverbs that says:

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

Even though commitment to scripture memory means some hard work, it reaps a great and delightful harvest!  Try it with me if you have not yet taken the challenge!  My wise husband is partial to a wisdom packed Proverb any day!  And me…I’m still hanging out with James, but will be on to somewhere else in the next month or so!

Oh, talk about a harvest, the book of James has downright gotten into my business, opening my eyes at one turn after another in so many areas like
– taming my tongue
– caring for the poor, widows, orphans
– not showing favoritism
and so much more.  That James doesn’t pull any punches!

So my scripture is:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

Come on my friends, let the word of God get in your business like never before!  You won’t be sorry!