Friday, May 8, 2009

a challenge

So, I've got a little challenge up my sleeve that I'm ready to tackle, and I thought I'd see if any of you would like to join me in it.  It's a one month challenge (although I guess it could be shorter, depending on the person), and I'll tell you on the front in that no matter what your previous experience, athletic condition, or intellectual aptitude, you can complete this challenge!


Well, I'm going to draw it out over several steps before the big reveal.  Just to make it more fun.

Step One: Pick out a few of your very favorite passages in the Bible.  I know that it can be hard to choose a favorite, so maybe think of them as passages of special significance to you.  For me, these passages are the ones that were either huge to me when I was going through something difficult, or they are passages that God seems to use to encourage me and speak truth to me over and over again.

So take a few minutes to think about it. It might be harder than you think!  But that's okay.  Take your time.

Step Two: Try to single one of those passages out and pinpoint the reason that it holds special significance to you today.  Is that confusing?  I've already had time to think through mine, so let me share it with you to see if it makes more sense with an example.

After narrowing it down, I decided that a passage that is very significant for me right now is in II Corinthians 12:5-10.  It says,

On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Can I summarize what I learned over the last few years in one line?  Probably not, but if I had to, it would be with these words, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."  Boy, did I find the depth of truth those words contain.  God's power in my life was unleashed in my weakness because it was then that I was totally dependent on Him.

I love the last two lines especially!  "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."  It's not a natural phenomenon.  It's supernatural.  It doesn't necessarily make sense apart from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but with Him, it makes perfect sense.  To me, these verses sum up so much of our journey with Poppy and Adrienne, and that is why I chose this as my passage of special significance for this moment in my life.

Step 3: Memorize it.  Yes!  Take that passage that means something special to you, and use the next month to challenge yourself to put it to memory.  That way it will be there with you all the time, not just the moments a Bible is at hand,  and it will sink in even deeper with the repetition and concentration it takes to memorize the verses.  

Think you've got a bad memory?  Well, maybe you do or maybe you don't, but the truth is, just about anyone can memorize something if they really want to.  That's the wall I always find myself bumping up against: the "I just don't want to take the time and effort to do it" wall.  And that's why it doesn't just happen unless you make a real effort to do it.  I don't sit down and memorize naturally, so I have to challenge myself with a specific goal.

So what do you think?  Do you want to take the challenge with me?  I can tell you this, it might be a lot of effort, but it will be worth it!!

My goal is to have my six verses memorized by June 8th or earlier.  If you want to make pick a passage and try the one month challenge, leave the passage you've chosen in a comment.  I'll come back in a month and have a memorization celebration!!  

One last thing!  Length doesn't matter.  You could choose one verse, one passage, one chapter, or even one book!  What matters is taking God's Word and hiding it in our hearts so that it is there, changing us from the inside out.


MandieGirl said...

I'm in! I think that this is a great idea! Thanks, Angie!

Nick and Rachel said...

Okay, I will join you. Joshua 24: 14 & 15 -- "So honor the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites whose land you now live? But as more me and my family, we will serve the LORD." We should do this every month! Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Philippians 2:1-16. I started memorizing this passage a few years ago, but never finished. Thanks for the challenge!

Anonymous said...

I like the challenge. here is mine.

James and 1 Peter


Angie said...

Rachel, I think you're right. I would like to choose something every month to be memorizing. Great idea! And I love those verses from Joshua!

to anonymous: Philippians 2:1-16 are some of my favorite verses in the Bible, and I actually memorized that chapter right before Marianna was born. I think you'll love it!

And dad, I stared hard when I saw someone wanted two memorize two books until I read your name. Of course that's not surprising to me =) I'll call you and see how it's going!

Dawn said...

I will join you. Psalm 139:13-16

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

These verses are special to me. Two years ago today I had exploratory surgery by a reproductive endocrinologist after a year of infertility. He said a lot of things...but ended with I would never get pregnant without help...and if I didn't want to have children so badly he would have done a hysterectomy due to some of my issues. Not what you expect to hear at 27! So, these verses were a comfort to me as I had to remind myself that even though my body was not working the way I wanted it was fearfully and wonderfully made!

Last summer my birth mother made contact with me. I used this passage to hopefully minister to her. To let her know that any time I wondered and had questions growing up...I took comfort because I knew the One who had formed me. Who knew me.

That same summer...our sweet Lorelei was conceived. Miracle of miracles! As I sit with her in her sling wiggling and talking to me...I am overwhelmed with all the changes that have taken place in the past two years. God knew.

During her pregnancy I had 15 ultrasounds due to some of my issues and then later on with gestational diabetes. I had to remind myself again...I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

So, yes, these verses are the ones I choose to memorize. Great challenge!