The Impossible Things (#recall 12 series, September)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“If you can?” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

Unknown

“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -Alice in Wonderland

There’s a scene at the end of Alice in Wonderland, where Alice is trying to summon the strength within herself to slay the Jabowake. And in doing so, she recalls all of the impossible things that she has believed. It gives her the courage to do what she believes she can do. Although a fictional story, this classic tale inspires us to remember that “the only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.”

The mind can be trained to believe, and our thoughts can be told what we’re capable of. When we come down with a severe case of the “I can’t’s,” it helps to remember Who can. In this month’s memory verse, Jesus asks …“If you can?” Of course we can’t …but He can. And with Him, we will. Let’s look at the entire verse:#recall12 September tweet 1

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

If you can? 

“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. Mark 9:16

Doubt can kick the legs of our faith right out from underneath us. Arguments often seed in doubt and threaten to exploit distrust of another’s beliefs.

doubt-to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. distrust.

Jesus’ disciples were arguing over something that wasn’t going according to plan. The solution they sought wasn’t happening as they thought it should …or had in the past.

“Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech …I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” Mark 9:17-18

Why, this particular time, aren’t His disciples able to heal this boy?

Everything is possible…

Jesus begins to address what is possible for them, and what is possible only for God. Possible often looks a lot different in our eyes than it does to the One who actually has a finger on all things alive.

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” Mark 9:19

Notice what happens when they stop arguing, and start to obey Jesus.

 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. Mark 9:20

Even the spirit saw Jesus coming, and took one last attempt to take the boy out. Life often seems to bear down when we’re already under attack, and that’s exactly what the spirit was doing to this boy.

“A person who truly believes will set no limits on what God can do.” NIV Study Bible Notes

There will be times in all of our lives where Jesus is the only one who will be able to help us.

“…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Mark 9:22

 

#recall12 September 2

…for the one who believes.

When beyond our limits, our belief in Christ saves us. Again and again, He will lift us out of what life has buried us in.

“The question was not whether Jesus had the power to heal the boy but whether the father had faith to believe it.” NIV Study Bible Notes

When we walk with Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict our hearts when we’ve let our doubt lead us into dangerous territory. Much like God moved the father’s heart …

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The hardest part of faith isn’t accepting Jesus as our Savior. It’s not overcoming our doubt. It’s not even believing that the impossible is possible. The difficulty is in understanding what God’s seemingly impossible capability looks like …feels like …sounds like… in our everyday lives.

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

We’re not always going to be equipped to climb our mountains. Sometimes, we have to sit back and let God move them.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”#recall12 September tweet 2

The hardest part of living in faith is sitting still in the pocket of prayer. Humanity is very goal-oriented. There are many times when are guts achieve God’s glorious goals for our lives. Tenacity and boldness are significantly important to walk out our faith. But there are some tasks that will surpass our physicalities. Answers to questions will eventually elude our logical abilities. Sometimes God answers …“this kind can come out only by prayer.”

Life isn’t always going to look like we think it should, thought it would, or want it to. But that doesn’t mean we should stop believing in the impossible. Our God is God of impossibilities, and Christ has authority over all the earth. The Spirit translates our prayers to God and God’s Word to us. His Word is faith’s handbook, and Christ-followed foot-steps eventually lead us to the Author.

Like Alice repeated the impossibilities that had become possible in her life to extend her courage to defeat the Jabowake …so must we repeat what God has made possible in our lives. When we look back and recount answered prayers, blessings, and miracles …we give our faith feet to stand firm and confidently in His Love.

Happy Believing,

Megs
September #recall 12 PDF

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Recall 12 September Screen Shot

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The Teenage Word of the 90’s. (#recall 12 series, August)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“Fill your minds with beauty and truth.” Philippians 4:8a

recall12 August image 1

“Whatever, Dad …”

My teenage voice echoes in my head every time I hear the word, ‘whatever.’ I said it so many times in those seven years of my teenage life that my Dad eventually started to call me, “Whatever.” It became a family joke. The first time one of my children say it to me will be gut-breakingly funny! Paybacks always come that way …or so I’m told. Whatever.#recall12 August Tweet 1

This month’s verse is followed by a string of ‘whatever’s.’ Let’s take a look at the second half of Philippians 4:8:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” Philippians 4:8b (NIV)

Determining “whatever” is a common challenge, but the author of this verse enlightens the principles we should be steering our thoughts towards. Paul knew that whatever  “people allow to occupy their minds will sooner or later determine their speech and action. ” NIV Notes. 

“Whatever is true…” In the original Greek text, ‘true’ is the Greek word, ‘alethes.‘ It means “loving the truth, speaking the truth, truthful.” More than simply honest inclinations, we are called to be an outstretched arm of Truth, Himself.

“Whatever is noble…” Other translations use, ‘honorable.’ God’s character holds the true definition of what is honorable. God is good, all of the time. His timing is perfect, and He is fair and just.  He is Love …and Honorable.

“Whatever is right…” Strong’s Concordance defines “dikaios“(the Greek word for ‘right’) as “a way of thinking, feeling, and acting that is wholly conformed to the will of God.” Jesus was the only one worthy to walk out that definition. When we want to think about things that are right, we can look to the way that He lived His earthly life.

#recall12 August image 2

“Whatever is pure…” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary says that innocence is“not be limited to sexual purity,” but that we should “keep away from any involvement in the sins of others.” Purity is self-restraint and resisting peer pressure.

“Whatever is lovely…” “Just give me more of Jesus,” an author said when asked what new writers should base their content off of. What is more lovely than Grace? Grace that died on a cross for us before we knew Him. When we know Jesus, we begin to see reflections of His loveliness in each person we meet.

“Whatever is good…” God is good, all the time. To meditate on goodness is to think of Him.

“Whatever is excellent or praiseworthy…” The best way to think about excellent and praiseworthy things is to praise Him. Worship in song or in still admiration of the sun rising puts God’s glory on display.  The primary task of humankind is to give this praise to God (Phil 4:8) and not oneself- Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

“Fill your minds with beauty and truth.” Philippians 4:8a

#recall12 August Tweet 2“Whatever” is filling statement. It leaves no room for dispute and shuts the conversation down. It can be an open invitation to listen, or a closed door for consideration. Our minds fill up with God’s Words when we are listening to ‘whatever’ He says. Others benefit from Jesus’ love when our arms are outstretched with ‘whatever’ He wills for our lives.

“Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:8b (VOICE)

When we meditate in conversation with God, He fills our thoughts with ‘whatever.’

The Voice translation uses the word ‘meditate,’ which lends more depth to the sentiments we consider thinking about. To meditate is “to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.”(Merriam-Webster) It specifies that these aren’t just random thoughts blurring through our brains, but notions we grab a hold of and let marinate in our minds. It’s there, in that pocket of relaxed concentration, that we witness the “beauty and truth” that God instructs us to “fill our minds with” in this month’s verse.

“Think about such things.” Philippians 4:8b(NIV)

Father, Praise You for teaching us so much through one word. Thank You for so clearly defining what we are to think about, speak of, and listen for. Forgive us for the times we don’t hear Your voice because we aren’t listening. Bless our thought-life to reflect Your love. May the Spirit that Jesus died to grant us access to be ever-present in our conversations with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Megs

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#recall12 August Verse Memory Cards PDF2#recall 12 August memory verse cards

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The Nylon Strings (#recall12, July)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word together each month! This month’s verse is:

“The Lord is my strength and my song.” Exodus 15:2

#recall12 July image 1

“TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG….”

I’m enjoying this. I love to listen to her play. Don’t criticize her for playing. Think about something else….

In the beginning stages of my daughter’s love for her ukulele, there was a lot of inward coaching I had to do in order to let her discover her own sound. It was music to my ears to hear her musical genius uncle tell her that her instrument had nylon strings …and she was  going to knock them out of tune by banging on them so hard.

“But I just like to jam,” she argued.

“Well, you need metal strings if you want to jam like that …” he explained.

“TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG….”She still wasn’t convinced.

“You heard what your uncle said,” I reminded, “if you snap a string on that uke because you’re stubborn, I’m not replacing it.”

Eye-roll …but compliance.

Oh, the sweet sound.

This month’s verse highlights the stubbornness of humanity …and God’s people. Fresh off a victory over Pharoh’s army and witness to them being swallowed by the Red Sea, there is abundant praise for God and His provision and protection.

“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. -Exodus 15:1

It’s on the heals of this that this months verse is bellowed for all to hold dear forevermore:

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.#recall12 July tweet 1
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” -Exodus 15:2


How easy it is to give praise on top of the mountain of victory…
When the trumpets are blaring and the confetti is flying and the finish line tape rips across our chests and the publisher loves our idea and our children are successful ….

But it’s quite another thing to elevate our hearts to this level of praise before we witness the victory we seek. It’s not always going to look so big.

Sometimes, victory as we see it doesn’t come. God seems quiet. The nylon strings seem to be holding up just fine. So we jam on. Hard.

Until we snap.

That can look different for everyone. Temptation of all manner is waiting for opportunities like these. When we’re sitting in the pocket of victory,  we’re most likely to snap.

“The Lord is my strength and my song.” Exodus 15:2 #recall12 July Tweet 2

This month’s verse isn’t situational. Whether you are jamming on your nylon strings, staring at a snapped one, or have moved on to more durable metal strings …jam on. Because unlike an instrument, God’s song is not interrupted when we break. He doesn’t miss a beat. Whether we know it, see it, or hear Him  …He always hears …always cares …and always loves.

Our omnipotent God is unstoppable.

We are not Him, but we are made in His image.

“Music played a major role in the lives of people in biblical times. It was used in both sacred and secular activities and was most often associated with joy and celebration.”  Dictionary of Bible Themes

In Exodus 15:1-21, music celebrates victory.

victory-a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war. -dictionary.com#recall12 July image 2

Victories are not exclusive to armies and athletics. They are the stuff of our Savior. Everyday miracles and tally-mark wins. Tempers calmed and callings chased. Jesus knows what it’s like to be human, and He knows that we are not capable of handling ourselves as He …the very Son of God and Spotless Lamb …did.

We’re incapable of carrying a tune without Armor. Hand Him what you can’t handle.

He is our strength.

We were never meant to be as strong as we try to be. We were created to lean in …to Him.

In the small victories and challenging moments of this month, let’s remember this verse …and sing a song … to our Strength.

#recall12 July image 3

Father, Praise You …for You alone are our Strength and our Shield. In times of trouble and in times of naivety, thank You for protecting and upholding us with Your just hand. We confess to snapping strings in the process of seeking our own method of progress. Forgive us, and send Your Spirit to bless us and fortify our hearts with Your Word and will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Happy Singing!

Megs

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#recall12 July memory cards

#recall12 July Verse Memory Cards PDF

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The Great Thirty-eight. (#recall12 series, June.)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s Word each month! This month’s verse is :

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

#recall12 June image 1

“Thirty-eight is going to be great.”

God has been whispering this blessing over my life as I peer into the next year of it. The last decade of my life has been riddled with challenge and laced in blessing. Each encroaching birthday is little scarier than the last.

With each year, more are diagnosed, suffer, and pass away. The people that it’s happening to are getting closer and closer in direct contact with my life. Friends, family …cancer.

“Cancer sucks,” my 8-year-old daughter declares …and I sigh.#recall12 June tweet 1

Cancer is scary. Life is terrifying.

Parting is unfathomable.

With each passing year, I have more to lose …and that particular fear would like to plant it’s paralyzing seed right smack in the center of my heart. Fear of loss can only be overcome by perfect Love.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Lying in the first part of this month’s verse is the fan to fear’s flame. “The thief…”

thief-One that steals especially stealthily or secretly. -Merriam-Webster

The NIV Study Bible Notes declare, “His interest is in himself.” Indeed. Selfishness is akin to theft …and fear.

#recall12 June Tweet 2selfishness- Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself. Merriam-Webster

Excessive and exclusive leave no room for the devil’s care for us. He’s messing to make us miserable enough to forgo the blessings in front of us. Worry and anxiety play an important role in what he’s trying to accomplish. His hope is that our hold on the world will overshadow the joy of Jesus’ heavenly embrace.

His breath filled all things

    with a living, breathing light—
 A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,
    blazes through murky bottoms.
It cannot and will not be quenched. John 1:4-5

Jesus is Life and Light. No new worry we discover to fret over is new news to Jesus, who sat with God from the very beginning of time. He knew us before birth, and I imagine that the Words He ordained to be written in the Bible for us to read were spoken with all of us in mind.

Through the darkness then, and murky bottoms now, He is Light and Life. Unstoppable. Unbeatable. Alive.

#recall12 June image 2

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” John 10:10 (VOICE)

There is a joyful and abundant life to be lived here on earth, knowing that He wins. We win. Death may part us from our friends and family. Cancer will steal time and break hearts. There’s no need to reach for wretched news to wreck our day. But just as it surrounds us, so does He. In the sunrise, He reminds us He is here. In the smile of a child, He reminds us Life is good. Through the unexpected note from a friend or a hug from a stranger, He shows us that He cares.

Are we looking for life, or waiting for death?

“The Greek word for “life” is found 36 times in John, while no other NT book uses it more than 17 times.” NIV Notes.

Life … “zoe”in Greek, means both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence. The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people, creating each in His image which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life. (Strong’s Concordance.)

Someone said to me recently that sometimes doubt can mean we are actually on the right track. Knowing the full scope of what the devil is up to, that makes perfect sense. He can’t make us do anything …but he can cause us to wobble in and out of doubt and anxiety. Fear is an attack on every good thing the Father has in store for us. All of the joy that Jesus died to lend us. Life was not promised to be easy …or fair …or painless …or always happy. There are times in this life that we will barely be able to lift our heads to the sky and ask Him , “why?”

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

Let’s continue to lift our heads and hold onto hope. It’s not a fairytale wish, but it is the stuff of fairy tales. Our Redeemer King has already rescued us. Live what He saved to the fullest.

#recall12 series June image 3

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

Father, Praise You for Life. Thank You for Jesus’ gift to us. Grace surrounds us, yet we fail on so many occasions to face it. Forgive us for looking past You for comfort, and help us to fiercely follow Your Son’s footsteps each day that we are blessed with on this earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Happy Birthdays!

Megs

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recall12_pdf_june_image

#recall 12 June Verse Memory Cards PDF

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The Puppy Principle (#recall12 series)

“Would you like to get well?” John 5:6b (NLT)

recall12-mar-tweet-1Sweating down the sidewalk past lunchtime, calvary of whiners in tow, I tried to focus on the petunias lining the lakefront streets. Aggravated by the lack of parental response, foot stomping and arm tugging ensued. The shrill demand escalated to a bossy holler each time my toddler strode past another furry friend.

Girl wanted a puppy. But her parents were not puppy people. Not even dog people. Barely cat people.

A happy life requires a walk of faith that fuels the good things meant for our future. This month’s #recall12 verse will show us how, in letting go, we grab who we are destined to be.recall12-mar2

1. Dreams are God-placed.

 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.” John 5:4-5

Sometimes we don’t want to get well because we don’t realize our lack. Of course this man wanted to get well. But he’d been sick for so long it was hard for him to imagine it actually happening. Instead of blind faith in the possibility, the man rehearsed a life’s worth of rationalizations competing against his opportunity to be healed.

When we don’t consult our Creator before discounting ourselves, we’re in danger of missing miraculous healing. Operating outside the will of God won’t allow us to experience the good He has plan for us.

2. Dreams are too big for us to accomplish on our own.

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” John 5:6

Do we want our dreams, or God’s dream for us? Our good Father created mankind out of love. We want His dream over anything we could possibly conjure up.recall12-martweet2

This verse is an important question to ask ourselves anytime we’re in faced with decision. It has the capability to reveal sickness. Sometimes we don’t know we’re sick until we look back at how we used to feel, or forward to a timeline we can’t fill in.

3. Dreams are built into the fabric of our person.

 ‘I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.'” John 5:7

recall12-mar2How often do we operate in blind trust without knowing for certain what the future holds?To stake claim on the God-sized dreams He crafted us to accomplish, we must recognize who we are and the work we have to do.

How often to we make excuses like the man in the  passage? In his defense, he may have perceived his prose as simple matter of fact. Those of us who see the healing coming wonder, “where is your faith?” No painful situation easily attaches itself to faith. It takes discipline to have faith when it hurts …and it’s hard.

4. Dreams are work we get to do.

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!'” John 5:8

The people of Joshua Chapter 3 might have missed walking through a river on dry ground, had they sat around and asked questions first …doubted that they could …or waited to see what they would get in return for their hard work.

Imagine what the man in John Chapter 5 might have become had he said, “no, I don’t think I can…” or “Jesus, that’s impossible.”

We are the image of a God who does the impossible. It’s our belief …our faith …that needs to catch up. In relationship with our Father, a privilege Jesus gave His life for, we can continually pray for guidance. Step by step, God will illuminate the work required to meander the path of our life’s purpose.

5. Dreams don’t have to wait.

“Instantly, the man was healed!” John 5:9arecall12-mar3

When we wake up each day with intention to seek God’s design for our lives, He is faithful
to answer and send His Spirit to guide our way …right away. When we walk with Christ, we live in happiness amidst the darkness. The switch can be flipped in an instant. The winds of change are swift.

Four years after the foot stomp parade along the petunia-lined streets, the “we will never have a dog” people are total dog people. Looking back, my husband and I are still shocked at the shift of our hearts. “I’m still not a dog person,” says my husband, who searched for just the right puppy …named her …and bought her a Christmas sweater.

Stay open, in prayer, for unexpected winds of change.

Happy Puppy-Principling,

Megs

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march-recall-12-cards-jpg-1Find your favorite place to hang out, and make some new friends! Link-up with us!!

Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

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