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

CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR FREE VERSE MEMORY CARDS.

#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 Hand-Held (#recall 12 series, May)

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

“He is always listening.” Psalm 34:15 (VOICE)

“OK,” I repeated, “I got it.”

I cut through the soft, glass cove at sunset to the tune of gulls cackling and the Evinrude faithfully buzzing along. Fresh-water beaded up on my  sun-screened skin, as the pages of whatever book I’d been lost in all day flipped through my mind. I whirred to a peaceful stop to watch the orange setting sun.

“What’s your 20?” the hand-held cracked into my serenity. As much as I wanted to toss it to the gulls, I answered, “over here …look to your starboard,” and waved my arms at my dad as high as my constrictive ‘life-saving’ device would allow me to reach. I ached for freedom from the noise. march-recall-tweet-1

It’s hard to find a quiet place to think before you’re old enough to claim some independent space. I knew little then about how loud life would be now. God is funny, that way.

He is present in every memory, and every future step forward. He’s known us the longest, and knows us best. Who better to talk to about life, than to the One who is always listening?

Laugh with God.

For the Eternal watches over the righteous,
    and His ears are attuned to their prayers. He is always listening.” Psalm 35:15 (VOICE)

Despite the annoyance of teenage monitoring, it was fun to say “10-4,” “over and out,” and “Lieutenant Dan” on that little hand-held radio. We heard a lot of laughs and inside jokes on Channel 74 before cell phones took over.

may-recall-image-1Hearing carries a couple of themes throughout the Bible, but concerning this verse it means: “God hears the prayers of His people.” (Dictionary of Bible Themes, #5159) 

When I realized that I could just talk to my Father without the formality of the memorized prayers of my Catholic upbringing, it was akin to hearing His voice crackle through the hand-held radio saying “10-4.” Laughter! God truly knows how to comfort us, carry us, console us, and crack us up. Lean into Him prayerfully with the personality He knit.

Feel for peace.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous [those with moral courage and spiritual integrity]
And His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15 (AMP)

Growing up on the water, the hand-held granted a sense of peace, even though there was distance between the boat and the shore. It was easy to call for help, and a feeling of never really being alone even when out of sight.

This verse goes so much deeper than God hearing what we are saying or praying. He is alert to what is happening in our world. He’s not a distant Father that checks in from time to time, He’s a hands-on Dad …ready to whack our hand away from the hot stove or put a pause on a situation we’re ready to rush through.may-recall-image-2

When we grab for Jesus’ hand, His peace trumps our solution. If we can quiet our hearts and search for Him, the peace we feel will direct our steps. God’s movement doesn’t always look the way we’d like to recognize it, but He longs to take our hand, give it a squeeze, and whisper, “this way.”

Audible thoughts.

God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.” Psalm 34:15 (MSG)

We don’t need a hand-held to call God for help, share a joke with Him, or just experience the comfort of knowing He’s there if we need Him. We need Jesus.

Words fail us, but He never does. We launch into tantrums and lose our tempers …ugly cry and vent in despair. Life is desperate at times, but the measures we take are no match for His power.

In a heap, in the corner, sobbing ourselves to sleep …He is there. Talking to ourselves in the mirror, or staring into a hopeless space …He is there. When we think we’ve blown it …lost it …or can’t move …He is there.

march-recall-tweet-2God wouldn’t have created boundless ways to communicate if there was one required way to speak to Him. His ear is universally omnipotent. Even Jesus ran out of words in the garden, praying with such agonous sadness He cried tears of blood.

He is in our indescribable moments, aware and alert to our heart, and compassionate to listen as we tumble through motions. Panic, fumble, stare, cry …there’s no wrong way to reach for the Father. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and our acceptance and belief in Him, we have full access to the One who sees us …knows us …created us …and loves us …unconditionally.

Happy Talking,

Megs

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may-recall12-verse-cards-jpg-1

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Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

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The Baby Star (#recall12 series, April)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where our goal is to memorize a little bit more of God’s Word each month. This month’s verse is:

“We do not belong to the darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5

It can take billions of years for one moment of brilliance to come to fruition. In the life of a star, time is it’s very existence. There are stars that exist in dim light for millions and trillions of years before they are visibly bright enough to see.

april-recall-12-image-1Life can take a toll on our perspective, making it easy to pass by the simple purpose of light. When we strain to see in the dark …we miss the Light. As the verse above illumines, that’s not where we belong. Through this month’s verse, God reminds us why we are “children of the day.”

Find the Light.

“For you all are sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night or of darkness—” 1 Thes.5:5 (TLV)

After God spoke light into creation(Gen. 1:3), He declared it “good” and intentionally separated it from the darkness. Every good thing comes from God, because He is good.  Everything created by God, from the specific balance of nature’s cycles to the orbiting patterns of stars, is good. A flicker of goodness lies in every person, each one crafted in the image of Goodness and Light, Himself.

Jesus answered … Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” John 10:9-10

Though division in the world may spotlight conflict, difference is an innate quality of humanity. Jesus speaks about walking in the light as opposed to the dark. He doesn’t tell us to watch out for other’s intending to trip us in the dark. No, He tells us to walk in the light so we won’t trip. As the matter of a baby star turns inward and begins to spin, it’s light becomes visible. When we look a little deeper at ourselves and each other through His eyes, our perspective sight is illuminated.april-recall-image-2

Listen to the Light.

” For you are children of light. You are sons and daughters of the day. We are not created of night, nor are we owned by darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (VOICE)

There is a spark in each human heart that beckons to be lit; and when we accept Christ as our Savior, that’s precisely what begins to happen. A young star begins to shine when enough matter has fallen on it. When we witness Light, bright beams permeate our landscape, and little bits of Him shine on everything …and everyone.

 Then Jesus told them, ‘You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. ‘” John 12:35

april-recall-tweet-2We’re privy to do something with the knowledge that keeps us from stumbling in the darkness. God’s Word is the way He communicates to us, when our ears are open to receiving what He has to say. That’s why Jesus is crucial. Through Him we receive the illumination of the Holy Spirit who reveals, reminds, and allows us to listen  …follow ..and walk in the Light.

Follow the Light.

“But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. ” 1 Thes. 5:4-6(MSG)

After waiting millions of years to begin shining, a star is still not really a star. It will remain in transition for millions more…or perhaps trillions of years as it continues to mature.  Jesus walks with us in transition as we grow in spiritual maturity …a process that eventually leads us home to heaven.

april-recall-image-3

” This was the happy condition of the Thessalonians as it is of all true Christians …they were the children of the day, for the day-star had risen upon them; the Sun of righteousness had arisen on them with healing under his wings.” -Matthew Henry Commentaryapril-recall-tweet-1

Elohim, Creator of light and time, space and sky, nature and humanity, knows us. He calls us the light. He made us for day. Yet for now, we shine in the darkness, spinning inward and increasingly growing closer to our Father until one day …we will transition to the main sequence of our life beyond this one. And there, in heaven, we will remain forevermore. We are put here by good hands with a good plan and a good Guide. Jesus is the Light.

“I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him.” John 12:46 (VOICE)

Happy Brightening!

Megs

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Find your favorite place to hang out, and make some new friends! Link-up with us!!

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