Thursday, February 14, 2013

40 Verses in 40 Days

_DSC7564Yesterday began the season of Lent.  The 40 days prior to Easter.  (If you do what I just did and count out the days on the calendar, you realize that it's really 47 days.  I believe the 40 days are Monday through Saturday, and Sunday doesn't count ... for reasons I haven't researched.  Just work with me here.)

Traditionally, people who celebrate/practice/honor the Lenten season will fast from something that they deem to be interfering in their walk with God.  Or perhaps give something up to spend more time in prayer.  Many people will give up a bad habit in the hopes of bettering themselves for God.  In the internet age, it's not uncommon to see people fasting from Facebook and other social networking sites.  Maybe you want to fast from a meal every day and use that time to pray.  In the past I've fasted from my favorite TV show (that was on for up to 3 hours a day thanks to TBS) and used that time for prayer and reflection and homework and, well, to not fill my mind with the junk of that show.  Alternately, instead of fasting from something, one can choose to do something extra to draw nearer to God.

I've not always celebrated Lent.  In fact, I didn't even really know what Lent was until I was in college.  And then it was still very weird to me, having not grown up with the idea of Lent.  And since I did learn of Lent, I haven't always committed to fasting something.  

This year I decided I really wanted to do something, but I wasn't sure what.  I didn't want to just give up facebook or my smart phone.  I want to do something that is meaningful and directly impacts my walk with God.

Last night at the Ash Wednesday service it hit me.  As I was listening to Pastor Mike speak and read scripture.  I really want to get back into memorizing scripture.  I love having scripture on the tip of my tongue, or at least in my brain somewhere.  

Psalm 119 talks of the benefits of having scripture in our head.  "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.  I have hidden your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you."  (vs 9, 11)  

And in Matthew 4 we see a practical application of having scripture memorized.  Satan was in the wilderness with Jesus to tempt him.  Satan told Jesus to turn the stone into bread.  Jesus replied with scripture, "You shall not live on bread alone, but by the word of God."  Then Satan told him to fall from the cliff and God's angels will save him.  And Jesus replied with scripture again, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."  Then Satan told Jesus to bow down to Satan and Jesus would be given all the kingdoms of the world. Again, Jesus replied with scripture, "Worship the Lord your God and serve him only."  If only we were so quick with the scripture when we felt Satan's temptations.

So I'm being bold.  I believe God told me last night to memorize 40 verses in 40 days.  That's a verse a day.  And WOW that's a lot.  My hope is that by doing this daily, I will reinstate the habit of doing it weekly.  

I don't know that I will post my verses on here daily, but I do hope to give periodic updates.  And please feel free to ask me how I'm doing.  To keep me accountable.  Because I will need the encouragement.  I will need someone to keep me honest.

Please pray for me as I go on this journey.  Pray that I get something out of it.  Pray that I stay strong.  I'd like to say pray that I'm successful, but I think that puts the focus on me and not on my relationship with God.

Are you doing something for Lent?  Can I pray for you on your journey?