2017 Scripture Memory Team – October

I hope the beautiful day I’m enjoying this day will be conveyed in my love for God’s Word in these two memory passages for October. And today marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation! Glory to Jesus!

On my way home from choir rehearsal a couple of weeks ago I was listening to Dr. Charles Stanley, long-time pastor of Atlanta’s First Baptist Church. He has meant so much to me for over 35 years. The morning I trusted Christ (July 7, 1985), I had been listening to Dr. Stanley on television. I share my story of faith in Christ in a post here on my blog dated July 7, 2009. I was blessed to meet Dr. Stanley back in 1987 and remember every detail of the time he so graciously gave me that day. Anyway, he referenced this verse and it has stayed with me. It follows the beautiful passage about the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-23.  

Galatians 5:25 (ESV)
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

How do we keep in step with the Spirit? Just as we learned to walk as little children, we have to learn to walk with Christ by trusting Him as He leads. It’s a process of faith as we mature in our relationship with Jesus. We stay close to Him through praying, worshipping, and reading the Bible. We become attuned to hearing His voice as He helps us along our way. It is a JOY to know He is speaking to your heart. Let’s keep in step with Him. I pray to grow old gracefully and I know the only way I will is by keeping in step with my Savior.

James 4:10 (AMP)
Humble yourselves
[with an attitude of repentance and insignificance]
in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you
[He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

This passage is from the Amplified version of the Bible and it’s beautiful. My big 6-0 birthday is next month. I can’t even believe I’ll be that old. I’m young at heart and that’s the truth – but sometimes I’m an old soul. And that’s the truth too. But this I know – the older I get the more I regret times in my life when I didn’t have a humble spirit. I’m a first-born take-charge girl and always have been. That’s okay. But attitude is everything and I’ve failed in this area many times. You know the saying, “large and in charge?” It’s so much better to be “small and in charge.” The in charge part is leadership, and that’s okay. But attitude in leading is crucial. See the parenthetical statements above? The first one – with an attitude of repentance and insignificance? Yep. It’s so much better for the Lord to be the One lifting us up – not ourselves.

My favorite phrase is the last. HE WILL GIVE YOU PURPOSE. As I celebrate 60 trips around the sun on November 16, I want to know my life has had purpose. I’m a daughter, sister, sister-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, wife, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend. All these roles give me purpose. But I want to live on purpose for Christ. I’ve prayed for years “make my life count for You today, Jesus.”  I’m going to be praying that as long as I have breath. With a humble heart.

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – September

Yes, it is true –  my blog has only consisted of my Scripture Memory Team posts for several months now. I’m totally sure there isn’t anything better or more valuable to post about than the “Wonderful Words of Life” found in the Bible.  I pray for my grandchildren every day. One of my prayers for them is that they will love and treasure and trust God’s Word. His Word is Life – and He is Life. Jesus. Just the mention of His Name brings peace and life. 

The two verses don’t have an apparent theme this month, but they sure stand alone in truth! They are short and simple. Romans 8 is one of the dearest chapters of the Bible to me. I love it and recently shared it with a young woman, a new believer in Christ, who was questioning her ability to pray and asked me what intercession even meant. I shared verses 26 and 27 with her about how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, on our behalf, when we don’t even know what to pray. That right there is glorious truth when you are struggling and can’t put thoughts to your heart’s emotion. He knows. Just get before Him and trust the precious Intercessor. 

Early in chapter 8 is the simple verse below. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Boom. Doesn’t even require explanation except for what it means to be in the flesh. That is the opposite of walking in the Spirit. It is having our own way – not seeking God’s will or way. Not a safe or good place to be. We can all get there but we sure don’t need to remain there.  

The second verse from Psalm 16 has always been a favorite to me, a true night owl, and most especially lately. My mind is the most active and clearest at night. I’ve been that way as long as I can remember, and that’s when the Good Lord will often speak to me. I’m thankful He speaks to me through His Word. My husband is a morning person – he always has been. He’s up early exercising, having his time in the Word, awake, talking, going strong…and I’m stumbling around trying to just brush my teeth and wash my face and wake up!

Back to the old hymn, written by Philip Bliss in 1874, “Wonderful Words of Life.”  This one took me back to the church where my husband and I met. He was the young worship leader, just 16 years old. The melody is happy and I especially love the lilt in the chorus on wonderful words of li-iii-ife

  1. Sing them over again to me,
    Wonderful words of life,
    Let me more of their beauty see,
    Wonderful words of life;
    Words of life and beauty
    Teach me faith and duty.

    • Refrain:
      Beautiful words, wonderful words,
      Wonderful words of life;
      Beautiful words, wonderful words,
      Wonderful words of life.
  2. Christ, the blessed One, gives to all
    Wonderful words of life;
    Sinner, list to the loving call,
    Wonderful words of life;
    All so freely given,
    Wooing us to heaven.Sweetly echo the Gospel call,
    Wonderful words of life;
    Offer pardon and peace to all,
    Wonderful words of life;
    Jesus, only Savior,
    Sanctify us forever.


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2017 Scripture Memory Team – August

The two verses I’m working on memorizing for August are powerful verses, full of confident HOPE in the Lord. The first one is from the amazing first chapter of the New Testament book of Colossians. Christ is before all things – He existed before existence. This clearly separates Christ from every created entity. Do I understand that? I do not. Do I believe that? Absolutely I do. This hope is the cornerstone of the authority of the Holy Trinity.

The second half is also powerfully assuring. In Him all things hold together. It’s been a rocky 2017 across our land since January unfolded with a new President and all the turmoil that has surrounded race relations in our country the past couple of years. I honestly love people and I’m thankful to be part of the Human Race. I know that is very simplistic, but it suits my beliefs. I embrace the truths of the song I learned as a little girl ~ “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” And he loves the big children too. Remember that in Him all things hold together even when they don’t appear that way. One day…one day!

Now for my second passage – from Hebrews, a wonderful book of the Bible. I love this scripture too. Another verse of confident HOPE!

Isn’t it the most wonderful JOY that every Christian can come right into God’s presence with just the mention of His Name? Unlike the high priests – who could only approach God’s earthly throne in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle once a year, we can draw near…with CONFIDENCE! Receiving mercy – finding grace. Yes!

We sang the old hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour,” this past Sunday. It was written in 1872 by Annie S. Hawks. Sing these words, slow and strong if you know the tune – it will bless your soul.

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, oh I need Thee;
every hour I need Thee.
Oh bless me now my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
Thy promises so rich, in me fulfill.

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
Oh make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.

Truth! In Him all things hold together – and He’s as close as the mention of His Name!

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – July

Both of my verses come from the New Testament book of Romans this month.  Hebrews, Psalms and Romans may be my favorite three books of the Bible.  For today. Because truthfully, I love all 66 books.  I wonder if a there is a theme to all of my 2017 memory verses, I need to review them and see. I believe there is a theme for July. Christ is everything! Salvation is available to everyone and faith in Jesus will never ever disappoint. There are days when I strain to hear clearly from Him through all the distractions in my day, but He never disappoints. He never has. I love the simplicity of this verse. The more we get to know Him, the more we learn and know and experience His faithful love and grace in our lives.

My second July memory verse is also from Romans. Chapter 11, verse 36.  I went to a Lifeway Women’s Ministry Leadership training almost 7 years ago in North Carolina at the beautiful Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville. My friend and ministry partner Cindy Schult and I attended together. It was where we heard Margaret Feinberg speak for the first time. She was delightful and has written many books since that time. We also heard from Melissa Fitzpatrick, the beautiful and intelligent daughter of Bible study teacher and author, Beth Moore. Melissa taught a session and Romans 11:36 was her focal passage. This verse especially resonated with Cindy and has every day since November 2010. More recently this verse has been brought back again to my  heart. He Himself is everything. He is the originator, sustainer, and finisher of everything. From Him, Through Him, To Him. All things. And because he is all in all, all glory and honor is due Him forever.

He NEVER disappoints.
He is in EVERYTHING.

Gran Jan

 

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Gran Jan Camp – 2017

The second GRAN JAN CAMP is a wrap! I went from one camper to three, so it was BIG BIG BIG! Here are my campers, my three oldest grandchildren, Madie, Jackson, and Zeke! Zeke attended the inaugural Gran Jan Camp last summer, so he was a great helper and co-director and “watch me, this is what we do” guide! He just finished 2nd grade and Madie and Jackson just completed first grade, the only prerequisite for attending, besides being my grandchild!
The theme for our camp this summer was “ENCOURAGEMENT!” Our focus verse was I Thessalonians 5:11:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Our focus was that our WORDS MATTER! We talked about encouraging people we don’t know and people we do know, most especially our families. We started this year with a Scavenger Hunt! I had the best time putting this together. I had 15 clues that ended up at the firepit by our pond. I worked on the clues and enjoyed putting them out all over the place… Clue 1 started inside our home, and the next clue led to another spot, to another, to another! These are some smart grandkids, I tell you that. I had to run to keep up with them and I don’t run. 🙂

So our big project was “encouragement rocks.”  Each grandchild had 4 rocks to decorate with words of spiritual encouragement, and they did amazing! Just look at these rocks! We encouraged folks we don’t know with words of hope and healing. We then went on a field trip to place the rocks in three different stores. We prayed that just the right person who needed to be encouraged that day would find the rock meant for them. We had a blast and talked about the joy that was ours to be an encourager to someone else.

We made snack necklaces to enjoy from all our hard rock placement that morning! 🙂 Zoom in close to see the “snack necklaces.”  They used pretzels, cheerios, fruit loops cereal, and gummies and enjoyed munching on these. Zeke had almost eaten his before I could take the picture!

When you live in the county without a swimming pool and it is over 90 degrees you buy a “slip and slide!”  They had a blast on this thing during the early evening and Pop and I enjoyed watching them.  After they had slipped and slid they wanted to play in the pond, and off they went. Pop even got in on the fun in the pond with them and then our lab, Copper jumped in with them too.

One of my favorite things we do is bury a time capsule on the last day of Gran Jan Camp. Jackson and Emery wrote letters to “their 18-year-old selves.” Yes they did! We will unearth these in 10 years and I pray we can all be together to do so. “Lord willing,” as my Granny Maloy always said about everything.

Madie and Jackson each added a “fidget spinner” to their time capsules.  It’s a recent new toy that is all the rage now. You basically just hold it, twirl it, and watch it spin. Jackson wondered if in 10 years if fidget spinners would even still be around. Stay tuned!

The time capsules were placed in the ground right outside Pop’s shop in Gran Jan’s zinnia garden.  Zeke’s was already there from last year and so we know exactly where they will be. I printed some pictures from the week to place inside, and I also wrote a letter to Madie and one to Jackson to place inside the time capsules too. Pop wrapped them up tight with plastic and sealed them well.

The joy of Gran Jan Camp is all about memories and family legacy. I loved having uninterrupted time with my grandchildren these three days.  Time to just be with them, praying and playing together. What a joy to be able to share in the lives of these precious little people.  I love them so much it hurts. You grandmothers out there know exactly what I mean by that.

I’m already getting a folder of ideas for next year’s camp and will enjoy this season while it lasts.  To everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and I know my campers will eventually outgrow Gran Jan Camp, but prayerfully they will never outgrow the memories.

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – May

May is here and has been delightful in many ways. The weather today is so nice. Right now it’s a beautiful 77 degrees with a nice breeze blowing. My favorite kind of gardening weather.  Two of my wonderful grandchildren have May birthdays and were born exactly two weeks apart back in 2010, Madie on May 10 and Jackson on May 24. They both just finished first grade and are Gran Jan’s JOY! The time is flying by.

Another fun event in May was our annual Worship Ministry Picnic for our choir, orchestra and technical team workers. We hosted it at the Morton Farm the first Saturday of May and it was a lot of fun. The families enjoyed having the room to roam and see the cows and chickens, and fish in the pond. Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs with all the trimmings filled the menu.  Everyone pitched in and helped serve one another in love. The fellowship was sweet. That brings me to my May 1st memory verse. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s necessary! Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. Offering hospitality is a way to show love. Doing it without grumbling is icing on that cake you may serve! We had over 150 folks and we enjoyed each one.  I pray I will always be kind and hospitable…without grumbling.


This next verse jumped out at me during a recent sermon by my Pastor, Jim Perdue. I love the Psalms and when he announced his text I was eager to turn there in my Bible. The Lord IS righteous and he LOVES righteous deeds. The best part is He gives us the righteousness through His son Jesus to do those deeds. We can’t be righteous in our own strength.  He will take care of us with His fellowship, protection and with the favor of a loving father. One day we will be in His presence and enjoy those blessings for eternity. But aren’t you thrilled to know those blessings now? I need Him every hour of every day.

It seems as though our society is getting darker and darker, people getting more and more evil. I believe it is because of quick news and media and the way we hear about everything so quickly that makes it seem this way.  This verse helps me press in to my heart the truth that God is in control. He sees and He knows every single deed being done, whether righteous or unrighteous.  I don’t need to keep any score pads in my purse (or in my mind and heart either). He’s got it all in His Mighty Hands. Let’s remember that He will take care of us as we trust in Him. And one glorious day, we will BEHOLD HIS FACE! Wrap your mind around that truth for a moment.

Gran Jan

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2017 Scripture Memory Team – April

It’s the last day of April and this month brought joy to my gardening heart. I planted flowers and fixed up some containers on the front porch for ferns and red geraniums. In my raised bed vegetable garden, I’ve planted tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, sweet onions, butter peas and pink-eye peas. Everything is up and growing. In fact, we just got home from church a little while ago and I couldn’t wait to get in the garden to check out how everything was doing. I let my hens out of the chicken house to free-range for a bit and just enjoyed the last few hours of this last day of April. The two verses I am working to memorize from April are in the New Testament, I John 2:6 and Ephesians 4:32, both of them have to do with our walk, our behavior.

Our beliefs dictate our behavior. We behave what we believe. If we claim His Name I just believe folks ought to see that in our daily lives. Do I mess up? Of course, every day. But my aim is still to walk in the manner Jesus walked. Shining His light, listening for His voice throughout the day and walking in His Spirit. I can do that by praying, reading His Word, and by just being kind – as stated in Ephesians 4:32. I want to be known as a kind woman, and for the law of kindness to be on my tongue (Proverbs 31:26).

I love the tenderhearted word in this verse. To stay tenderhearted we have to forgive, be kind, forgive, love people, forgive. FORGIVE. As we’ve been forgiven. If you’re hurting due to unkind behavior from someone, as hard as it is to do – pray for them and ask God to help you forgive them. The more you pray for them the more tenderhearted your heart will become. And tenderhearted folks are a joy to be around.

Signing off now, expecting some April showers tonight…my next post will be my May flowers.

Blessings,

Gran Jan

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