Routine Maintenance — “Into the Word” Week 5

   In the mid 1970’s, my sweet abuelos moved into a 2-bedroom townhouse that sat on a lake.  Over the years, they have hosted countless holiday dinners, served tons of Cuban coffee, and charmed all the neighbors.  That happy little house is home to many who feel wrapped in their love when they cross its threshold.

As my grandparents have aged, however, the house has started to show signs of decay — signs that my grandfather refuses to properly address.  Rather than replace the tattered roof, countless minor repairs have patched holes.  When it rains, water seeps in, but he excuses it away as a minor nuisance caused by too much wind.

Today, my dear hubby spent a couple of hours trying to repair several kitchen cabinets and drawers that according to my grandmother had “suddenly broken” — she expressed horror when my dad suggested that her 40-year old kitchen should really just be gutted and completely redone.  The house is falling apart at the seams, but my grandparents are at home in the ruins.

I may shake my head in disbelief at their lack of due diligence in routine home maintenance, but the fact is that God often shines a light on my soul and says, “See that spot right there — it’s leaking.  That hole in your heart needs some attention.”  Sadly, my response often mirrors my grandparent’s atrophy and blindness.  I just don’t want to be bothered.

This week as I was digging “Into the Word,” I came across a letter from God to a group of very loving, sincere people – He commended the Ephesian disciples for their hard work and perseverance, but He pointed out that they had “forsaken their first love”  (Revelation 2:4).   In the Greek, the word “forsake” implies

  • to disregard
  • to refuse to discuss now
  •  to omit, neglect
  • to leave, go way from
  • to desert wrongfully
  • abandon, leave destitute

Somehow, I don’t think the Ephesians woke up one day and decided to forsake God.  I don’t think they even realized that they had strayed.  Thankfully, verse 5 provides a step by step “routine maintenance” plan:

  • Remember therefore from where you have fallen — Do you remember a day when your heart felt more connected to God? Self examination is essential to maintaining your spiritual well-being.
  • Repent — Spend time in prayer, confess your need for Him, and ask God to help you get back on track.
  • Do the works you did at first — What are the spiritual disciplines that nourish your soul to love Him more? How can you intentionally exercise your faith and build up your spiritual muscles?

I want my heart to be a healthy, vibrant place that thrives in communion with God.  Don’t you?  How do you keep your heart’s home from decaying?   I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

 Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

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Verse 1: Hiding 20 in 2012 Scripture Memory Challenge

Memorizing Scripture will change your life. I don’t know about you, but my crazy thought patterns can use some serious intervention! Are you ready for some change in 2012? Let’s start today on our journey to hide 20 verses in 2012.

In the Foreword to Scripture by Heart, Dallas Willard shares: “The human mind is filled with feelings, ideas, images, ways of reasoning, habits of thought, memories, and expectations of various kinds. Many of these are enslaving, harmful, or false. They shape our actual beliefs and guide our actions...Memorization of Scripture is one way of ‘taking charge’ of the contents of our conscious thoughts, and of the feelings, beliefs, and actions that depend on them.”

Want to take charge? Here are some helpful hints for the journey:

1. Pray!

Ask God to pick your verses for you. Choose verses to memorize that hit you in the gut about where you struggle most or that encourage you to keep going. I will suggest a verse or two every time we meet, but a great resource for choosing verses is a Topical Bible or Scripture reference book like Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word Every Day (available on Kindle — I keep this on my iPhone for handy reference!).

2. Pursue!

Review all of your verses orally at least once a day. Write them out in a 3×5 card spiral that you drop into your purse or use a Scripture Memory app on your smart phone like this one.

3. Partner!

Let’s hold each other accountable. In the comment section below, write out the verse you will be working on for the next two weeks. Make sure to include your first name, your home state, the verse’s address/location, and the Bible translation:

Lyli from Florida: “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17, NIV).

Here’s a little play on words for all you Pinterest Fans. Rather than ‘Pin it,” let’s purpose to “Hide it.” I will end each post with a “Hide it” Suggested Verse.

“Hide it”:

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm,

for God can be trusted to keep His promise” (Hebrews 10:23, NLT).

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