Quick, what’s the jingle for McDonald’s? How about Geico? Now, finish this sentence, “Be the change, you wish….” Got it? Ok, now sing the rest of this line, “Cuz Uptown Funk,…” And just for fun, even if you aren’t a sports fan, can you name 3 Packer players? I bet you can!
It always blows my mind how much random trivia, song lyrics, even sports stats we have rattling around in our brains constantly! I mean, go ahead, ask me to sing the theme song to the 1980’s sitcom, “WKRP in Cincinnati”. I know it perfectly, even though I’ve never even watched an entire episode! And don’t even get me started on quotes from Tom Hanks movies. A ridiculous amount of my brain is taken up with lines from “Sleepless in Seattle”.
That said, try finishing this sentence, “Consider it pure joy…..” Or this one, “Come to me, all you who are weary…..” Here’s an easier one, “The Lord is my shepherd….” How did you do? Could you finish those? And if you did, can you tell me which verses they are? Where to find them?
Do you see where I’m going with this? Lately, I am finding myself more and more frustrated that as someone who LOVES God and LOVES his word and wants to know him and his plans for me, I can quote more Grumpy Cat memes than Bible Verses. Do you ever feel this way? I hope, and I would guess, that I am not alone in this, and since it’s the beginning of the new year, I felt it was time to do something about it.
2017 is going to be an interesting year for us all, I think. Because of the political and social climate around us, it seems that this year we’ll be facing and talking about a lot of challenging ideas. We are all going to have to face what it is that we really believe, how we really love each other, and how to stand on the foundation of our faith in order to keep joy in our hearts. I want that joy.
So, instead of just making my usual and unrealistic resolutions to lose a stupid amount of weight, eat nothing but green foods, and spend 5 hours a day with God this year, I thought I would do something more practical (and possible!) and invite you all along with me. I will be MEMORIZING scripture. Will you join me? Each week (or as many as is possible for me), I will be digging into and then committing to memory, a verse that I feel is vital to a closer walk with Jesus. I LOVE the word of God and instead of just “spending more time” with the Lord, knowing his promises will help me face whatever lies ahead and get to know him better.
When we “hide God’s word in our hearts”, our perspective changes. Our mood changes. Our world changes. We can hold on to the promises of God in the times we need them most, and God loves to connect with us in this way.
I’m starting out with an easy one this week, mostly because it’s good to start out with confidence that this is an attainable task. So, #1 of the 52 I plan to memorize is one that we should all have at least heard and recited in our lives once before:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Why do we all know this one? Why is it used so often? It’s the verse that most simply sums up who God is and who we are in Him.
Let’s break it down:
God (the one and only), loved THE WORLD (which includes YOU and ME).
So much, in fact, that he sacrificed his one and ONLY son for us. We can all relate to the heaviness of this, since it’s a human truth we share. We all get the importance of a child and to give one up? That’s intense.
He did this, for us. And all we have to do is BELIEVE in him. That’s not too much to ask.
And if we do, we will not “perish”.We get eternal life. A life to live with this God who loved us SO much that he gave his only son….and around it goes.
When we look at it carefully, it’s simple and HUGE at the same time. Something clear, that children can understand, but something POWERFUL that can often baffles us as we grow older. It is an amazing truth that the more we ponder it, the more we need it to sink in. We are loved and saved by faith, by God himself.
See Me Sunday…
I have 51 more verses for us to “hide in our hearts” this year, and if you want to help me, please feel free to stop me at church on Sunday morning and recite our verse of the week to me. There may even be a prize in store….
And may God start to do amazing things in you as you fill your mind and soul with His word this year.
Julie Haack, Ministry Pastor, email@example.com