Monthly Archives: January 2016

New Year, New You?

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Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I never have before, but I decided that I would floss my teeth every day in 2016.  I know that’s a seemingly small thing, but it makes my bedtime routine that much longer.  However, I know it’s good for my health, so I’m working on consistency and haven’t missed a day so far.  

I also decided that I would work out every day, even if it was just for five to ten minutes.  I must admit that I have already failed at this one, but I have been much more active this month.  My mom gave me a Fitbit for Christmas, and we have been challenging each other to meet our step goals.  This past week, I challenged the four friends on my list who always have the most steps for the past seven days to a “Workweek Hustle”.  I amazed myself by taking over 18,000 steps on Monday and again on Tuesday!  Obviously, I am highly motivated by competition.  

  
I woke up at 4:30 or 5:00 am each morning to work out on our elliptical, and I tried to stay moving throughout the day.  I had gained a pound earlier in the month and lost that pound this past week, so I am challenging those same friends to another “Workweek Hustle” and hope to lose another pound this coming week.

  

Yesterday, I completed a burpee challenge and a sit-ups (crunches) challenge using a free 30 Days app.  I had never done burpees before, but I ended the challenge with a set of 29!  Crunches are easier for me, and I ended that challenge with 126.   I have already completed the starting tests for my February challenges:   push-ups and sit-ups (crunches).

As this first month of the new year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished in January. I have been trying to eat less and move more, but the scale doesn’t show any weight loss. Fortunately, I don’t rely solely on my weight to determine my progress. In the last month, I have lost an inch on my waist and 3/4 of an inch on my hips. I know I could have lost more if I would have eaten less, and that will be my focus in February. It will be difficult with four birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and two banquets, but I am determined to lose at least four pounds in the month of February.   

What are you doing to be healthy?

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Ephesians 1:13-14

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a scripture memorization challenge and pledged to post updates on my progress to hold myself accountable.  I think it took me longer to memorize these last two verses than it did the first 12.  I leave my set of cards on my bathroom counter where I can recite each morning the ones I have already memorized, and then I can meditate on the ones I am learning while I finish getting ready in the morning or as I am washing my hands throughout the day.  I surprised myself last night when I recited this verse in my head while putting my oldest to bed.  (He wants me to massage his neck and back while he reads each night.)  I wasn’t certain I had remembered the verses correctly, but I recited it again while getting myself ready for bed, and I had it memorized–finally!

My goal is to memorize half of a chapter each month, so I am on target.  I need to make cards for the rest of chapter one and start meditating on them.  If it took me a week to learn these last two verses, I better get started on the rest of the chapter, since February is a shorter month. 

My mom, my mother-in-law, and one friend (that I know of) have accepted my challenge to memorize Ephesians.  I also have a few friends who are memorizing Philippians this year.  What verses are you learning?

Ephesians 1:7-12

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If you haven’t been following my personal challenge, I am memorizing the book of Ephesians this year.  My goal is to memorize half of a chapter each month.  Yesterday and this morning, I memorized verses seven through ten of chapter one.  I usually try to learn verses in smaller groups, but Paul and the scholars who divided his letters into chapters and verses could not work together.  Therefore, Paul’s sentences do not end with the verses, so this group was more challenging to learn.  

Paul repeats similar phrases often but not exactly, so I sometimes mix up phrases like “his glorious grace” and “the riches of God’s grace.”  Paul also uses the title “Christ Jesus” often but will inject the appellation “Jesus Christ” occasionally, so I come up with acrostics to help me remember different things.  In verse five, “for adoption to sonship” spells FATS and “through Jesus Christ” is TJC, which is the name of a junior college near my hometown.  

If you have accepted my challenge, let me know how you are learning Ephesians.  I have several friends who were challenged by their pastor to memorize Philippians this year.  If you are working on Philippians or another book, you are welcome to comment on your progress as well. 

Ephesians 1:3-6

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Leslie, a follower of Christ Jesus by the grace of God,

To God’s holy people in America and around the world, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, wasn’t that better than, “Hi, everyone!”?  I love when I can pray scripture over my children and those who have requested prayer.  Beginning a missive with Paul’s words, adds a depth and richness that my own words usually lack. 

  
If you have accepted my challenge to memorize Ephesians with me, I hope you are learning the first few verses.  Since verse 3 was short, I went ahead and memorized it Wednesday with the first two verses of chapter one.  Today, I am learning verses four through six.  

Paul didn’t write his letters with verses in mind, so some of his sentences encompass a few verses.  Apparently, the first scholars to divide the books into chapters and verses had trouble deciding where some prepositional phrases should go, so I grouped these three verses together to complete his train of thought. 

Remember that God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ,” so have a very blessed day!

Ephesians 1:1-2

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Yesterday I posted a challenge to memorize the book of Ephesians in 2016.  I haven’t had anyone respond that they are willing to participate in this challenge with me, but I will press on toward my goal.  Since I started almost two weeks into this first month, I am planning to memorize Ephesians 1:1-14 by the 21st and the remainder of chapter one by the end of January.  Last week, my Bible study was focused on Ephesians 1:3-14, which inspired me to memorize this book, so these verses are familiar to me.  Now, I just need to dedicate them to memory.  Today, I am focusing on the first two verses.

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Wouldn’t our lives be richer if we still addressed our letters in this way?  Instead of simply, “Dear People of Ephesus,” Paul offered an affirmation and an encouragement to the Ephesians in his greeting.  Rather than sign his name at the end of the letter, Paul began with a bold declaration of who he is in Christ.  Don’t be surprised if I begin using this introduction in my blog posts!

Scripture Memorization and a Challenge

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Two years ago, I wrote a post about a new method I had started using to memorize scripture.  I am happy to say that I have stuck with this technique and have memorized over 100 verses since October 2013.  Not only have I memorized them, but I continually recite them all to make sure I do not forget them.  

The verses I have chosen vary from verses I pray for my children, verses I teach my children when they are misbehaving, verses I heard in church, verses I found in my own Bible studies, or verses I saw on Facebook or Pinterest.  When I run out of inspiration, I use verses from a list of “scripture everyone should memorize” that I found on Pinterest.  Sometimes, I memorize a single verse or a short passage. When I feel ambitious, I memorize a whole chapter. I break the chapters up into 1-3 verses on each index card and memorize one card at a time. Romans 12 took me about a month to memorize. 

The best part of this method is the repetition in successively longer units of time.  First, I memorize a verse or passage.  Then, I recite it to myself each day for 50 days.  Next, I recite it once a week for 50 weeks.  After that, I recite each verse once a month.  In a few years (after completing 50 months), I will only recite those verses once a quarter.  After 50 quarters (by then all my children will be out of high school!), I will review those verses once a quarter.

I currently have three rings with index cards on them:  daily, weekly, and monthly.  I plan to continually add new verses, so one day in the distant future, I will have two additional sets of cards–quarterly and yearly–for a total of five.  I have to pace myself to make sure I have time to recite my weekly and monthly verses.  I usually start on Monday with my weekly verses.  When I finish that set (usually mid-week), I switch to my monthly cards.  I can usually recite them all within a few days, since I know them so well after working on them for over two years.  If I don’t finish the monthly cards by the following Monday, I recite all my weekly cards again and then pick up where I left off on the monthly cards. 

My goal for 2016 (and my challenge to you) is to memorize the entire book of Ephesians.  I plan to break it up into short passages and memorize at least half a chapter a month.  There are six chapters, so it works out nicely with twelve months.  I will post each month what verses I am working on and how I am progressing.  I would love to hear from and encourage others who are memorizing the same verses.  Who would like to join me in this challenge?