Have you used the last week or so to reflect on 2011? To be honest, looking ahead is much easier for me than reflecting, so I've forced myself into some discipline and thought about 2011.
- God strengthened my heart for leadership. He's drawn me deeper into considering the heart of leading, the task of leading, the difficulties of leading, the rewards of leading, and worship through leading. He challenged me to step it up and not coast in leadership. Ps 78:72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart. With skillful hands he led them.
- 2011 was a good year for communication and intimacy with my family. As my kids get older our relationships only strengthen. Yes, they are wanting more independence, but Chad and I are diligent in communicating with them that their own desire of independence in life and thought does not have to mean independence in relationship. Our conversations deepen, our desire to explore truth together increases, and our heart to take on adventure together grows. I love my family more and more and more. Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.
- God challenged Second Mile in some giant ways that I hope to continue to process. Through the book of James, the Spirit convicted us like never before to take care of people in distress, to move beyond culture, comfortability, and politics and do something to bring relief to humanity through the power of Jesus. It is a slow process to say the least. But He asked us to trust Him and jump, so as a church, we are training ourselves to believe Him. Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap the fruit of His unfailing love. Break up your unplowed ground. For it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers His righteousness upon you.
I'll leave the list there for now. I truly hope you will take time to reflect on what God has done for you this year. Sharpen your discipline of remembering. It will lead to gratitude, to worship, and to deeper faith in Him.
One of the main reasons this quote is true is because of Moxie Memorizers. Thank you for the accountability. I haven't memorized scripture so consistently since college. In looking through my memory pack of the new scripture I took in this year, my heart beats a little faster. When you posted your scripture twice a month, my heart felt so full. Thank you! Thanks for sticking with it. Thanks for jumping back in when you missed a month or two. Thanks for believing that God will change your life through the power of His word!
I'm starting this year with a prayer. I have to laugh a little because I've been reading this passage so much over the last week that I have it roughly memorized. It's good. I'm praying this for me, for you, for my family, and for my church. When I read a basic commentary of this passage, the first statement was "a prayer for the expansion of Christ's kingdom." Yes, please! I'm praying this for me, for you, for my family, for my church, and for the nations.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make His face shine upon us,
2 That your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, O God;
May all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, O God;
May all the peoples praise you.
6 Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.
7 God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.
Isn't it beautiful, and hopeful, and encouraging? This is my prayer for the coming year.
What about you? What passage you are memorizing? Are you continuing something you've already started?
Here is my challenge/encouragement to those of you who started out with us last year, but didn't finish:
It's time to pick it back up. Stop making excuses. Your life may be hard, but it isn't too hard for you to avoid meditating on His word. Quite the opposite, actually. His word in your heart is a lamp for you feet! Your life may be busy, but if it's too busy to practice spiritual disciplines then it's too busy. It may be really difficult for you to memorize things. But, suck it up! You can take in two verses every month. If you keep saying, "I can't" then you are already defeated. At the very least, start saying, "I'll try." If you started out last year, but just fizzled out, then ask the Spirit of God to empower you with the fruit of the Spirit which includes self-control. Sometimes discipline does include "just going through the motions." But, let me assure you that our God is big enough and His word is powerful enough to transform your life even if your heart isn't totally present. That's when discipline gets down to the nitty-gritty of its definition: doing something even when you don't want to, will-power, staying the course.
If you are new to Moxie Memorizers, welcome! If you would like some help, please read this post and this post. It will help you get started. Also, feel free to email me if you would like some more tips and/or encouragement.
Again, I'm so thankful for all of you! Ok, ladies and gentlemen (any guys brave enough to join us this year?), post your verses!