The Mountains Declare

We went to the mountains in the beginning of October and I thought it couldn’t get any more beautiful.

Then we went to the mountains in the mid-October and I thought it couldn’t be any more beautiful – the water running and blowing leaves of many colors…breath-taking!

Well past the peak colors in chilly mid-November, a gaze out my window today displays brilliant yellow, gold, red, green and deep brown and makes me appreciate…it can’t get more beautiful!

Autumn adoration does not come easily to me as its presence ushers in dread of a frigid ‘quadriplegic’ winter when I long for elusive warmth and bundle in my woolen wardrobe. Today, and hopefully for this cool season, it’ll be different. I pray each chilly breeze is accepted and embraced. May my heart be open to the total beauty of creation.

As our families gather together to give thanks to the Almighty for the blessings he’s provided, I pray that gratitude will be the spirit of the whole year…of our whole lives as we share our blessings with those in need and alone – and as we welcome the season of celebration and anticipation. O Come O Come Emanuel!

Sending warmth your way today….Madge

Now for my scripture memory friends, lets snuggle by a fire, drink cocoa and memorize a verse or two! Pick your own or use mine!

Search me O God and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Ps. 139:23-24

Time to Review

The pumpkins and fall foliage remind me that the year will be over before we know it! I want to make the most of these last 2 1/2 months and in thinking about this, I knew a ‘goal review’ was in order.  What ‘unfinished’ priorities would pop off my goal list and potentially surprise me?

My goal review and reflection is too infrequent. God’s grace made this year’s reflection an encouraging one. As I contemplate, the reality of how important it is to review my goals becomes crystal clear. A review reminds, confirms and encourages.

Today, I remind my friends who join me in a scripture memorization goal that it is important to review what we have already memorized. My system uses a good bit of time to review what I have etched in my  gray matter (exercise time goes by quickly while quoting verses). In fact, I’ve been known to take a month off from new scriptures to remind, confirm and encourage myself in past scriptures. Regular scripture review is imperative even if I’m in the midst of new verses.  If too much time elapses between reviews, rust has often crept into my mind particularly on a reference or on the infamous ‘blank out’ words that often cause me a stumble.  Keeping words fresh helps me apply them more intentionally in my daily life.

We all need encouragement and support.  I love and appreciate you, my memory partners, who help spur me on in this discipline.

This year’s solid hold on memorizing scripture has been a most important goal for me. With soberness and grace it has helped me accomplish so many other goals in it’s rippling wake.  These words really are alive and active!

I pray you will join me as a partner in my journey of scripture memorization and goal setting..and regular reviews of both.

Enjoy the fall season – Madge


Song of Solomon and Our Anniversary Week

The first half of September is always special to me because my annual reading plan just happens to include Song of Solomon as our wedding anniversary approaches.

What a fun, yet touching and reflective book at an apropos time.  Some controversy exists on whether it is an allegorical look at God’s great love for us and Christ’s love for his bride, the church, but there is no doubt that this is a steamy book about marital love between a bride and groom.

Who ever thought the Bible was boring? Not me I tell you!

This love song, as seductive as it gets, often gives me a few giggles as the lover describes his beloved with compliments women of ancient times hopefully understood:

How beautiful you are, my darling!  Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.
Song of Sol. 4:1-3 NIV

I guess I’d be surprised if Brent complimented my hair by saying it looked like a goat’s – and we expect our spouse to be glad if we have ‘all’ our teeth?  It was definitely written in a different time and culture, but meandering through the book of Song of Solomon in a version like the Message illuminates an appreciation for the descriptions of courting in romantic love.

You’re so beautiful, my darling,
so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled
By your hair as it flows and shimmers,
like a flock of goats in the distance
streaming down a hillside in the sunshine.
Your smile is generous and full—
expressive and strong and clean. Song of Sol. 4:1-3 MSG

OK my friends, I think I’ll go check up on my blessing, Brent, and read him a few of the  words from Solomon’s chapter 5:

My beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
His head is purest gold; **(I’ll omit ‘his hair is wavy and black as a raven’ since he is beautifully bald….)
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend.

…and I’ll leave you to choose your memory verse (sure hope you are memorizing with me twice a month!).  Just in case you’d like a suggestion – here is a verse I’ve been reviewing  that you may enjoy:

Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O God,  You hem me in behind and before, you have laid your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:4-5 NIV

Blessings and love to you – Madge

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