Tag Archives: Bible

New Year, New Goals

Standard


As we begin a new year, I am reviewing the goals I set at this time last year and setting new goals for myself for 2017.  I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions because those just beg to be broken.  I prefer to set goals that are attainable yet challenging.  

I’m happy to report that flossing my teeth became a daily habit for me in 2016.  I only missed two days the whole year!  My dental hygienist even noticed that I have been taking better care of my teeth and gums.  Unfortunately, I did not fulfill my 2016 goal of working out for at least five minutes a day every day.  I did work out more in 2016 than 2015, so at least I am making progress.  Another goal I had for 2016 was to memorize the book of Ephesians.  I’m happy to report that I completed this scripture memorization challenge in October.  I had planned to memorize half a chapter each month, and I was doing well until school started. Then I ran out of books to read while working out, so I spent about a week studying verses from Ephesians for 20 minutes to an hour each day while on the elliptical.  I memorized most of chapter five and all of chapter six in record time that week!  The whole book of Ephesians is now on my weekly review ring, but I’ve been trying to review more than once a week because we will be studying Ephesians at church this spring, and I want to keep it fresh in my mind.

For 2017, I want to lose a few more pounds and then maintain that weight.  I did not reach my goal weight by the end of November, but I had made tremendous progress.  Between Christmas and New Year’s, I put on a several pounds, but those came off quickly this week.  I weighed 129.8 this morning, and that’s where my weight has hovered for a few months.  It’s time to shed those last five pounds!  I have been working out every day this week, and I am keeping a log of my workouts.  Along with my cardio exercise on our elliptical, I do two sets of my age in crunches each day and one set of 15 squats.  (I’ve learned that my knees can only handle 15 squats a day.)  I want to tone my arms and build muscle because I arm-wrestled my son last week, and he won!  He’s not quite eleven years old.  I need to stay stronger than him for a few more years at least, so I have been doing bicep curls, tricep extensions, and tricep kickbacks in addition to push-ups each day (except rest days).  I have researched types of push-ups and why you should do your age in push-ups each day, and I have been working towards doing a set of 38 full push-ups for a few months now.  I have gotten so much stronger and faster, my feet are close together now (not several inches apart, which was easier), and I’m getting closer to the floor on my push-ups.  Many people say they can’t do push-ups, but anyone can do a wall push-up and progressively reduce the incline as they get stronger. I challenge you to get to your age (or at least half if you are over 50) in push-ups by the end of 2017.  


I am now memorizing Psalm 119, which contains 176 verses, making it the longest chapter in the Bible!  The whole book of Ephesians only has 155 verses, so it will definitely be a challenge to completely memorize the whole chapter this year.  This acrostic poem is divided into 22 stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, so I will need to memorize approximately two stanzas a month.  Fortunately, I started several weeks ago and have already memorized 12 verses.  I only have 154 to go!

What goals have you made for 2017?

Ephesians 2

Standard

I have been memorizing the book of Ephesians this year and challenging others to do the same.  I started working on chapter two at the beginning of March.  I was getting stressed as the month started drawing to a close because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish memorizing the chapter in the next few days.  Then I realized last night that I had only committed to memorizing half of a chapter each month, so I have another month to finish memorizing chapter two.  Whew!

  I loved seeing a friend post these verses on Facebook for Easter a couple of days ago.  I had been so focused on memorizing the words that I hadn’t focused on the full import of their meaning.  Praise God that his incomparable grace and kindness is still being shown and expressed to us in Christ Jesus!

Birthdays, Books, Banquets, Bugs, and Bible Verses

Standard
Birthdays, Books, Banquets, Bugs, and Bible Verses

What do all of these things have in common?  Birthdays, books, banquets, bugs (the bacterial kind), and Bible verses have kept me so busy these past few weeks that I have only posted once and that was a book review on my other blog.  Please excuse this random post to catch you up on all the chaos that is my life. 

These cuties turned three years old this month!

First, out of the six people in our house, five of us have a birthday in a four-week period.  If you take out the one January birthday, four of us celebrate our birth in less than two weeks.  It’s a crazier-than-normal time already, and then we throw in Valentine’s Day.  Guess who completely forgot to buy her children Valentines to pass out at school and had to stop at the store on the way to school that morning?  Yep.  Mom of the year right here.  This was my first year to have all four kids in classes where they were exchanging gifts/treats, and I was completely overwhelmed.  By the way, I wouldn’t advise waiting until the Friday before Valentine’s Day to try to find those cute little cards with your child’s favorite characters on them because we were only able to find one package in the whole store (with the help of an employee), and those were the cards you put suckers in, and none of my children wanted to pass out suckers.  We just gave friends cool treats without cute cards.  There’s always next year, right?

This handsome guy turned 10 a few weeks ago. I can’t believe I have been a mom for over a decade!

If you know me very well, you know I love to read.  I confessed to my students this morning that I’m addicted to books.  I have the hardest time closing a good book at night when I know I should be sleeping instead of reading.  Trying to teach on less than six hours of sleep is like trying to drive while taking pain medication.  Ok.  Maybe it’s not quite as dangerous, but my brain doesn’t function at 100%, and I forget the correct math words for what I’m supposed to be teaching my students.  Fortunately, they are smart and help me out when my memory lapses, and they are forgiving.  Anyway, I have received a few amazing novels recently and finally found the time to read them.  I read to pass the time while I’m on the elliptical in the mornings.  Last week, I ran out of new books to read and discovered a treasure of a book on my Kindle app (Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin).  I would have loved to curl up with that book and just read all day.  (If you don’t have young children at home, please don’t take that privilege for granted!)  I just finished another wonderful book today, and I need to write a couple of reviews ASAP.

  
My husband and I attended a couple of banquets this month, and I was stressing about what to wear, getting my haircut, trying to lose weight, deciding how to fix my hair, which jewelry looked best with each dress, what makeup to buy, etc.  I ordered dresses online because it’s too much trouble to go shopping with four children.  I also had to alter the length of the dresses because my feet refuse to endure the torture of six-inch heels.  My husband wore his class A uniform to the fire department banquet and slacks and a nice shirt to the other banquet.  He looked great without having to worry about any of the details.  Why do we (women) put so much pressure on ourselves?  The banquets were nice and enjoyable once the nights came, but the weeks leading up to them were filled with anxiety.  I should have been quoting Philippians 4:6-7 to myself during that time and putting it into practice!

  

Our sole summer birthday!


The twins were sick last week.  It had been five months since they had strep throat last.  I’m sure that was our longest stretch without strep in the last two years, but Little Sister had it really bad this time.  Even after two days on antibiotics, both girls were still fussy and clingy.  I got pretty much nothing done last week, so I’m playing catch up this week.  Fun times.  But I enjoyed extra snuggles and cuddles with my little girls, who are getting too big too fast. 

 

These verses took me more than two weeks to memorize!


I have continued with my personal challenge to memorize the book of Ephesians this year.   My goal is to commit half of a chapter to memory each month, and I just barely finished chapter one by the end of February.  The last few verses were challenging to commit to memory, but now they just roll off my tongue.  I am enjoying seeing what my sleep-deprived brain can do when I focus on achieving a goal.  Tomorrow begins a new month, and I will start memorizing chapter two.  If you committed to memorizing Ephesians with me, how are you doing?  How about those of you who are learning Philippians this year?  I’d love to hear from you for the encouragement and accountability.  
I am extremely blessed even in the midst of the chaos.  I am exhausted, but I am loved, and that makes it all worth it.

 

Ephesians 1:13-14

Standard

 

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

Standard

  
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

Standard

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

Standard

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.

FullSizeRender

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

Standard

  

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?

Bible Memorization

Standard

Over the course of my life, I have memorized a lot of scripture. Unfortunately, I have forgotten much of it because I did not continue to review those verses. In the last few years, I have tried memorizing scripture using notecards, a spiral notebook, and apps on my phone, but I haven’t been able to stick with it.

When Big Brother and Big Sister started Awanas in the fall, I wanted to help them with their scripture memory. I needed something simple for the children, and I needed something I would actually continue for more than a couple months. I came across this blog post on Pinterest a few months back, and it looked like something that I would actually do. It was just index cards on a ring, but the progression was what I had been lacking previously. The kids and I started this together and memorized Matthew 7:12 as a “Family” verse. Here is my first card.

20140108-164115.jpg

20140108-164125.jpgBasically, I memorized the verse, and then recited it once a day for 50 days, making tally marks on the bottom left. After 50 days, I moved this card from my “Daily Verses” ring to my “Weekly Verses” ring. Now I just recite this verse once a week and make tally marks.

20140108-165118.jpgAfter 50 weeks, I will move this card to a new ring for “Monthly Verses” and recite it for 50 months. I changed my system a little at this point. The lady who posted this idea plans to review her verses each semester. I’m planning to review mine once a quarter after 50 months. I might review the verses once a year after reviewing quarterly, but that’s over 16 years down the road, so I’ll determine that when my youngest two are in high school.

What I love about this system is the progression from reviewing the verses daily to weekly to monthly and so on. This gives me a goal to work towards. I feel like I have really accomplished something when I move a card onto the weekly ring. I enjoy making the tally marks because I’m one of those people who enjoys making lists and checking things off when they are complete.

This system works for me, and the kids were really excited about it the first few weeks. Unfortunately, I haven’t been as faithful with theirs as I have been with mine. Big Sister can’t read her verses yet, so I have to read her the reference and give her the first word or two. I couldn’t keep up with Big Brother’s verses. He didn’t want to go to Awanas the last two years, so he had three Sparks books to complete this year, and he whipped through the first two books in two months! Many of the verses review or build on verses from the previous book, so we are in the process of making cards for all of the verses from his third book.

For my verses, I chose some that I had memorized before, verses we had chosen for each of our children, and verses from this list and a few others I found on Pinterest. As I come across verses that speak to me, I add them to my verses to memorize. I plan to continue meditating on scriptures in this way for the rest of my life to ensure that I have God’s word hidden in my heart. I love being able to pray scriptures for my children, family, and friends.

Do you memorize scripture? What system works for you? Do you have any ideas for kids?