With a baby who's not even two weeks old (and a two year old), this is a perfect verse for the month of January:
"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." --Isaiah 40:30-31
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." --Matthew 11:28
"However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." --Ephesians 5:33
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." --Philippians 4:13
In an effort to hold myself accountable for memorizing Scripture, I'm attempting to post my weekly memory verses again. I plan to choose a verse each week that will help me grow in areas of weakness. Memorizing a random verse works for some, but I need one that is currently applicable to help me with both the desire to memorize and the ability to remember God's Word. I use a dry erase marker to post the verse on my bathroom mirror and practice the piece of Scripture each time I'm at the sink. In choosing a verse, I typically find one in my (intended) daily Bible reading that I keep in mind for the following week, or come across one in a Bible study. You can also find applicable verses by looking in the Concordance section at the back of your Bible or simply doing an internet search for verses in an area that you're seeking growth; for example, you could search for "Bible verses on gentleness." And of course, you're welcome to use my memory verses as your own each week. If you type your email address in the subscription box on the right side column, you'll receive an email with my new verse for the week. Happy memorizing!
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." --Phillipians 4:8
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." --James 1:22
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." -- James 1:19-20
"...love one another deeply, from the heart." -- 1 Peter 1:22
A couple weeks ago, 2 Thessalonians 3:13 sat unknowingly in my inbox. The night before I saw this message (from God via a parent of a former student), I was feeling discouraged and tired. I couldn't figure out how to design OFH the way I envisioned. I'd spent weeks molding a theme and a header that I ultimately scrapped. I'd just given up on another created logo, for the hundredth time. I was out of my league. I went to school to be a teacher, not a web designer. In the morning, I found an inspirational message from a mother expressing her love for my blog and her thanks for the positive Christian influence I've had on her daughter's life. She ended the email with this verse: "Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good." Instant rejuvenation! Isn't is funny (or serendipitous) how God intervenes through people at JUST the right moment. As this woman typed 2 Thessalonians 3:13 into an email, I'm sure she had no idea the lasting impact those word would hold for me. Each time I'm feeling deflated, uninspired, or questioning my work through Our Faithful Home, I recite this verse and regain my determination to share the love of Christ.
Weekly Memory Verse: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will." --Romans 12:2
Recently, I've felt convicted to no longer buy into the ways of the world, specifically "keeping up with the Joneses." It's a real challenge for me, and although I'm making headway (slowly), I still need this constant reminder from God. I am not to conFORM to this world; I'm meant to transFORM in Him.
Weekly Memory Verse: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." --Luke 6:37
Forgiveness may be one of God's commands that I struggle with the most. Often, when I say I've forgiven a person, I fail to treat them like they're forgiven, and my heart remains bitter as I continuously recall the hurt. What a truly awful cycle! The giving up of anger and pain, followed by true forgiveness, is a welcome release that pride attempts to hinder. I pray for instant recognition when my pride is surfacing and the forever desire to follow God's command to forgive, as I too need to be forgiven.
Weekly Memory Verse: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. " --Galatians 5:22-23.
Each week I've been choosing an area of need and then using scripture as guidance. Although it is beneficial to focus on my weak areas, one by one, acknowledging that God wants me to encompass ALL of the above qualities makes me realize the weight of the responsibilities I hold as a believer. I can't just be loving one week, gentle another, and patient the next. I need to radiate each of the nine elements of Christ if I am to be effective. Granted, I'm human, and I will fall short, but committing this verse to memory will allow me to quickly check myself in moments of sin and recall the characteristics that dwell in me through the Holy Spirit.
Weekly Memory Verse: "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." --James 1:26
The above verse sat in my daily devotional this morning waiting to convict me. Instantly, I felt God impressing the importance of James 1:26 on my heart. Reining in the tongue is something I've always struggled with, especially with those to who I'm closest. I got out of bed determined to live out this verse. It was only 15 minutes before the rein on my tongue loosened and I was "nicely" chiding my husband for not occupying our daughter so I could eat my breakfast in peace, for just one day out of the week. And a little later I was giving him a hard time for walking loudly. Really? Immediately after I spoke in both those instances I felt the Holy Spirit's gentle hand reminding me to tame my tongue. If I am to be an example of Christ to others, this is a skill I must master. I pray this week that I can conquer my tongue's desire to speak that which is not Christ-like, that I may speak only that which is true and kind.
Weekly Memory Verse: "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." --Exodus 20:7
The Lord is our holy, majestic, omniscient, powerful, forgiving God and He has commanded us to not misuse his name. Our society uses God's name and that of His Son's in such a flippant way that we may not even realize we're misusing it. Such is true with the now common phrase "OMG." This "Oh my God" isn't being used to cry out to Him or praise Him; it's said in a way that does not honor Him. And we often hear people shout "Jesus Christ" in moments of anger or shock. We must remember that His name is to be glorified and used appropriately. I grew up, unaware, using God's name in vain. After 20 years of saying something on a regular basis, it's challenging to eradicate it from your vocabulary. I still slip up from time to time, but I want to diligently remove the misuse of the Lord's name from my thoughts and words, especially as I model both my speech and faith to Adeline.
Weekly Memory Verse: "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." --Proverbs 17:22
Last night Tim and I watched the movie About Time, starring Rachel McAdams (my favorite actress). It was a beautiful film, ultimately about embracing the present and treasuring each moment. At the end of the movie, the father travels back in time to enjoy one last experience with his son when he was a little boy, who is now grown. This scene brought me to tears with the stark realization that when Adeline is an adult, I will never be able to revisit this time in our lives. I won't be able to travel back in time and feel her head snuggled in the curve of my neck, to feel the weight of her leaning on my chest as she sits in my lap to read a book, to feel her tiny feet locked tightly around my waist when I hold her, to hear her squeals of delight as she grips the back of my shirt while riding the "choo-choo train." This is it. Each day is the last time I get to experience each day. In the frustrating moments of raising a strong-willed toddler, I pray I remember what an insatiable gift God has given me. My beautiful, funny, creative, intelligent, cheeky Adeline. And thus, receive "the good medicine of a joyful heart."
Weekly Memory Verse: "For whosoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whosoever loses his life for me will find it." --Matthew 16:25
Over and over for the past several months, I have been convicted to eradicate the ways of the world from my life. Useless television, harmful movies, materialism, and such. I certainly haven't said "Yes!" to God perfectly in all of this, but I feel like I'm getting there. I've started to turn off movies that don't have positive messages and stopped watching some shows that epitomize the world's skewed perspective. I wonder how much of my life I waste and how much of that time I can replace with learning about Christ and doing works for God's Kingdom. Matthew 16:25 reminds me that "losing my life" isn't a loss at all when He's the gift I gain!
Weekly Memory Verse: "For God so loved the world that he have his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." --John 3:16
This verse may be considered the heart of Christianity. It's important that I know this verse, without question. I've heard it hundreds of time, but I don't have it completely memorized. What a sensationally powerful piece of scripture! To know that God allowed His child to die for me, and that I will spend eternity with Him because I believe.
Weekly Memory Verse: "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise..." --Psalm 100:4
Simply put, I desire to revamp my prayers and begin in thanks to the Lord, as he has called us to do. Opening in thanksgiving places the importance on God, His blessings, and His will before that of my own. He deserves my praise foremost!
Weekly Memory Verse: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." --Mark 11:24
The above scripture arrived in my email this morning, on day eight of my year-long devotional. I've seen this verse before, but never really pondered it's power. I pray to God throughout the day, every day. But, do I sincerely believe I have received what I'm requesting, or do I think of my prayers simply as a dutiful daily list of needs lifted up to Christ. This verse tells me that I need to BELIEVE I have received. I must trust the amazing power of God and know that He is capable, should my will be His. No matter what season of life we find ourselves in at this moment, we must continue to pray and trust, as Billy Graham explains:
We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving. We are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud. We are to pray in times of danger, lest we become fearful and doubting. We need to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient. Sinners, pray to a merciful God for forgiveness. Christians, pray for an outpouring of God's Spirit upon a willful, evil, unrepentant world. Parents, pray that God may crown your home with grace and mercy. Children, pray for the salvation of your parents. Christians, saints of God, pray that the dew of heaven may fall on earth's dry, thirsty ground, and that righteousness may cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Weekly Memory Verse: " He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength."
For the last few months I've felt how this puppy looks-- a little tired, a tad weak, a touch of nausea, and a wee bit achey. In the moments when chasing Adeline around, doing the dishes, folding laundry, grocery shopping, or walking the dogs seems like too much, I need to recall this verse. The knowledge that God gives me power when I'm feeling faint helps me breathe deeper, put my trust in Him, and recharge.
Weekly Memory Verse: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." --Proverbs 3:5-6
For the past year I've been struggling in the relationship with my earthly father. I realize that the factors surrounding our disconnect are completely out of my control. In my moments of sorrow, frustration, anger, and pain I meditate on the comforting knowledge that God's plans for my life are prosperous and not harmful (Jeremiah 29:11). I must continue to trust in the Lord regarding my father and our relationship. I pray every day for healing and restoration, but I also whole-heartedly trust God's will, should it be different than my fervent requests. My trust in God allows me to breathe, refocus, forgive, and stay resilient in prayer.
Thank you, Lord, for the peace you provide amidst the daily struggles of this life, and the hope you give us through Your son, Jesus Christ.
Weekly Memory Verse: "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. " --Joshua 1:8
Although this verse can be permanently found at the top of the "Memory Verse" page, I feel like I need to focus on memorizing these words to kick start my plunge into reading The Bible daily, once again. Just as starting the day in prayer can ground your entire day, so can reading His Word. When I first started the chronological reading plan earlier this year I chose it as a new way to read The Bible, hoping it would keep the experience "fresh." But sadly, I got bored and quit. I think this happened because I was only reading with the intention to finish The Bible again. I need to find purpose in my reading and ask God to speak to me through this living work. Joshua 1:8 states that keeping His words on our lips will make us prosperous and successful. That's a guarantee I'd like to accept, but I need to put in the time to complete my end of the commitment - I read, learn to follow His commands, and he makes me successful. Sounds like a good deal to me!
Dear God, please give me the desire to read Your Word each and every day. Guide me in making The Bible a priority among my daily tasks. Help me to read out of joy and not duty. Please speak to me as I read Your Word and allow me to focus solely on You as we grow in our relationship together. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Weekly Memory Verse: "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." -- Isaiah 41:13
Over the past year, fear has been an unfortunate constant in my life - fear for my husband's life while he was at war, fear about how Adeline and I would live without Tim if God took him Home, fear for my little girl's health (severe reflux, food allergies, and aspiration), fear about my parents' divorce, and fear for my daughter's safety (unspoken reasons). However, my fear is disobedient to God. Fear is written about over 500 times in The Bible and "fear not" is the most repeated command in His Word. I guess God knew we would struggle with this emotion! I want to make the choice, here and now, to trust God's plan for my life and to fear not. He is in control, He is my protector, He causes all things to work together for good, He knows the number of my days.
When I came upon this verse, I felt a physical rush of calm as I imagined God truly holding my hand. Really, try this! Close your eyes and feel the sensation of God holding your hand and embrace it for a few moments. Isaiah 41:13 ensures us that God WILL help us: "...Do not fear; I will help you." I believe this promise. When fear inevitably creeps in I will use this verse to defend myself against Satan's grip and choose to feel God take my hand instead.
P.S. As I wrote this post, CNN aired a show called "To Heaven and Back." One of the interviewees who was diagnosed with cancer, died, went to Heaven, and came back to life explained that she learned fear literally poisoned her body. Once she experienced the love of Christ in Heaven, she knew to fear not! Now, she is cancer free. Five different oncologists remarked that they have never experienced cancer disappear as it has in her case.
I'm Ashley Ashcraft,
a military wife and
stay-at-home mama, earnestly seeking the Christ-like life. I invite you to walk alongside me in my quest to raise our children and join the antics of our unpredictable military lifestyle. I pray your heart feels rejuvenated and inspired each time you visit OFH!