#Write31Days Challenge – Post 27 – God on My Mind

lists

Some days are just tough, mentally we are at our max capacity.  Our stress levels are high, our emotions are running wild, and our energy is running empty. 

Then there are the days that are just, busy.  It’s not that you are overwhelmed emotionally or even physically, but it just seems like every second of your day has been claimed by some thing or some one.

On days likes these it can be hard to put in some serious Bible Study, we either don’t have the time or the energy to put the mental energy into study.  Our prayers may be short and sweet lists, or even the sigh we exhale as we say “God help me!” as we drop our sobbing eyes into our hands.

Speaking for myself,  I know that when it comes to spiritual practices …. I have good days & bad.  There are days I can accomplish in depth study, first thing in the morning, that will carry me throughout the day.  I also have days where I am on the go, all day long, and it isn’t until those final moments I am putting my head to the pillow that I can stop and pray.

Over the years, I have learned a few tips to help keep God on my mind throughout the day.  I may not getting in 30 minutes of Bible Study or even 5 minutes of dedicated prayer time. 

  • Play worship music on the radio while in the car picking up the kids, or while bustling around the house cleaning.  Often Christian radio stations will read verses throughout the day, replay Pastor’s sermons, or interview of Bible teachers that are worth listening to as well.  Audiobooks and Podcasts are other great options.
  • Pray as you clean, over what you are cleaning.  Be thankful for indoor plumbing as you clean your toilet.  Pray over your children as you fold their laundry.  Pray for your husband’s safety while working, as you prepare to make that doctor’s appointment for him.  Volunteering at the church?  Pray on your drive for the church, the Pastor, or the ministry you are serving on.  In the Parent Pick Up line at your child’s school, pray for the school.  At the gym?  Pray for your health.  At the grocery, pray for those who are going hungry.  As you pay your mortgage online, give thanks for your home and pray for the homeless. 
  • Pray throughout your day.  Instead of sitting down in the morning going through a lengthy prayer session, instead pray throughout the day as thinks pop into your head.
  • Display scripture on walls of your house, either in picture frames or using wall decals. These can be life verses or family mission verses.  Even if you don’t have time to study your Bible that morning, you can focus your eyes on those as you move about your home.  Then can also be fun verses like the ones I have for certain rooms of the house.  In my kitchen the verse on the wall is Psalm 107:9, and in the bathroom is verse Psalm 24:4.  
  • Now this one may make you giggle a bit, however in our old house … I got really creative.   We placed a white board right across from the toilet in our guest bathroom.  Every week I would write a new piece of scripture.  We kept no magazines or newspapers in there, so the only reading material our guests had was from the Word.  We referred to it as “Coming the Throne” (I am convinced God has a sense of humor).
  • Use uninterrupted times to really speak to God.  I find that I am most vulnerable when I am totally alone, away from the noise of the house.  Some of my greatest conversations with God have taken place in the shower, or by turning off the car radio and just speaking with the Lord. 
  • Bring your Bible or Bible Study with you to waiting rooms at doctor’s offices, or even when you are lunching with a friend – particularly if you are generally a person who arrives early.
  • Turn your lunch dates with friends into something more than gossip sessions, and make that your Bible Study time.

All of that said, I would also suggest doing what you can to reduce some of the hectic activity from your life.  Lysa TerKeurst has a great book “The Best Yes” that really helps you take a hold of your life, so that you can carve out time for God, not be overwhelmed by your schedule, and learn to give your best to the things that are most important.

And finally, should you find yourself in a space where you are struggling emotionally or physically with life… please, PLEASE…. see your doctor.  There are many disorders that steal our minds, energy, drive, and make us feel like we simply CAN’T.  Have your primary care doctor rule out physical ailments, and if you need to see a Christian Counselor who can help with the mental aspects.  There is nothing wrong with seeking help or using medication to get you through, and a good Christian counselor can help you do so while leaning on the truth of God’s love.

#Write31Days – Post 15 – Memorizing the Scriptures

scripture

My small group for this fall is all about Bible Literacy, we are half way through our book.  I think we all have grasped the importance of not just reading the Bible, but studying it.  We are learning study tools so that we can read with purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer.  We have grasped that reading a piece of scripture just once isn’t sufficient, and reading it in context is responsible.

At the beginning of the small group sessions, I asked all of the women to write down WHY they were interested in learning how to study the Bible.  An older woman in the group shared that she was looking for a better way to retain what she was reading.  Age and illness have taken a toll.  Years of Bible Studies, personal reading, etc… and she just couldn’t hold onto to the information.  She was hoping that learning new study skills would help her retain the scriptures she loved.

Confession Time:

I think most of us struggle with memorizing scripture. 

It takes time, effort, and practice.  Most of us find that our time is pretty divided between work, family, volunteering, etc.  We have also lost the need for scripture memorization, particularly in the United States.  In my own home I have access to NINE translations of the Bible in PRINT.  If you include the access I have through the internet, I literally have access to every translation written to date.  It costs me nothing.

Historically, people would memorize scripture because they were relaying the scriptures from memory… there were not written Bibles.  Later, as the scriptures were recorded on scrolls, the scrolls would be passed around from city to city.  It was quite possible that no single city would have the complete collection of the scriptures all at one time.  In other countries, having a printed copy of the scriptures might get you executed.  For these people memorization is their only option.

However, for you and I… it’s a quick click of some keys, or a short walk to our bookshelf.

We don’t NEED to memorize it, because we have instantaneous access to it… any time we want.

For my friend who is aging, this is a relief.

Yet, for those of us who want to memorize scripture (in part, or in whole) it is a daunting task.   Here are a few tips for helping you memorize scripture.

  • Select scriptures that are meaningful to you, at least to start with.  They may be encouraging scriptures that get you through rough times.  Or, pieces of beautiful poetry that remind you of the glory of God.  They may be promises or scriptures of wisdom.  Having a connection to the scripture will give you the motivation needed to memorize.
  • Write out the scripture several times by hand, for some learning styles this is an active way to cement the scriptures to memory.  For others they may need to repeat the scripture out loud, many times like a drill, in order to recall it from memory.  Or, come up with a mnemonic device to assist with memory recall…. such as hand gestures, putting it to a tune or rhythm.
  • Write the scripture down on a card, and display it in an area you frequent often.    Such places may be your bathroom mirror, on your front door, the dashboard of your car, or in your planner.   Keep it there until you have memorized the scripture, then replace with a new one.
  • Try memorizing the scripture from a translation that is easier to recall.  A King James version can be difficult with the old english phrasing.  The NIV or ESV may be a lot easier because the language is more familiar.

Also make sure that you review scriptures you have already memorized often, to ensure you retained it accurately.  Otherwise you may find yourself leaving out words of blending scriptures together that are unrelated.