book-1210030_19201

15 Bible Verses for Every Christian to Memorize

Memorizing God’s Word is a vital, joy-producing discipline of grace for every Christian—but where to begin? With so many thousands of verses to choose from, memorization can feel overwhelming, and we often don’t know where to start.

Why Memorize Bible Verses?

Many of us have asked several clarifying questions about this grace-filled discipline, like:

  • “What’s the point of memorization?”
  • “Why should I take the time and effort to memorize the Bible? Couldn’t I use that time to read it more deeply, or to pray?”
  • “If I can simply open my Bible and read God’s Word, then why should I memorize it?”
  • “If I’m bad at memorizing in general, should I still consider this an important pursuit?”

I’ve asked all of the above and have been deeply convicted by what God himself has to say about the vitality of his Word being sown within the believer’s mind and heart. Here are just three important reasons he gives us to memorize his Word:

Continue reading

chicago-690364_1280

The Nation That Tries to Heal Itself Can Only Destroy Itself

One thing after another. That’s the way it’s felt this past month, as acts of terrorism and violence have escalated and followed on one another’s heels. I find myself waking up each day wondering what the headlines will say, wondering what happened while I was sleeping or moving about daily life…

Violence is starting to feel normal and, though no believer should be surprised at evil’s presence, we are becoming freshly sensitive to its increasing prevalence. If I’m honest, I’m afraid, baffled, ashamed, and sad all at once.

Certain headlines and official statements haven’t helped. News headlines like “Who can heal America?” and remarks from our President read, “Only we can prove that we have the grace and character and the common humanity to end this kind of senseless violence.”

The worldview behind such thinking is even more saddening because we cannot be the solution when we are actually the problem.

Continue reading

prepare-suffering

The Secret to Preparing for Suffering

“It feels like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

I sat on the edge of our bed with tears in my eyes, attempting to describe to my husband the silent, simmering fear that had been plaguing me. I was in perpetual dread of the possibility of getting re-injured and of the new pains that so easily come to those recovering from chronic Lyme disease. After my body had been weakened for years upon years, it would now be left vulnerable to even the slightest stressors. When would the next ache come? When would the other shoe drop?

As physical discomfort seems to be my constant companion, I wrestle with what it looks like to be ready for it, rather than worry about what the next pain will be. So I’ve wondered, What makes the difference between preparing for suffering and anxiously fearing it?

Continue reading

pexels-photo-112989

God Be Glorified in Me

“God Be Glorified in Me” was written for a project created by The Orchard Songwriters, called Give Us Words. I hope you enjoy it!

God Be Glorified in Me

More of You, and less of me
This is my heart’s cry
May You increase, let me decrease
You alone be lifted high
Your name be praised
Your name be praised 

CHORUS
God be glorified in me
In my waking and my sleeping
In my thinking and my speaking
You alone are worthy, Lord
Fix my eyes upon Your greatness
Humble me to Your holiness
O God, be glorified in me.

For Your glory, not my own
My life an offering
Here I kneel before Your throne
Remove the veil, let Your glory be seen
Your name be praised
Your name be praised

CHORUS

(Copyright 2013, Give Us Words by Kristen Wetherell)

glory-not-independence

Glory Not in Your Independence

I love playing the hero.

And when I say “love,” what I mean is that I simply cannot resist the tendency to do so. To appear weak before other people, to admit that I cannot perform certain functions or that I’m at a loss, often seems like the worst kind of failure.

So I pull up my bootstraps, wipe the sweat off my brow, and pretend I’m Miss Independent.

The last time this happened in a grand scale was not my proudest moment. A significant foot injury had landed me in a hard cast for six weeks. The doctor’s instructions were to “take it easy” and elevate my lower half as often as possible.

Somehow, in my unspoken desire for independence I interpreted those instructions as, “Go grocery shopping, even though your foot hurts, and don’t bother to ask for anyone’s help.”

Great idea.

Continue reading

strengthened-by-grace

Be Strengthened by Grace

While I often know that I am weak in the light of God’s strength, it is a very different matter when I taste this reality. It is in these moments that God breaks me of selfish pride and carefully crafted plans that are rooted in the false belief that I somehow have control over my own life. I am challenged with the question, Do you really trust Me, even at the end of your rope?

When my answer wavers, the temptation is to despair for lack of faith. How can I continue to trust him if my faith is so weak in the first place? I wonder. Then, the gospel. It is in the confession of our weakness that our Father humbles us through his reminder that even faith in Christ is created and upheld by him, that salvation comes from the Lord and not through our own efforts.

Continue reading

#MakeMercyGreat

Join Me in #MakingMercyGreat

May I make a request of you?

Yesterday, our pastor wrapped up his series on contentment in the Christian life. (It is nothing short of excellent, so please listen if you have the time!) Of all the sermons and points he preached, I found myself continually going back to one application in particular: “the rhetoric of the Spirit.” It has already proven in these past three weeks to be an enormous grace during times of hardship, pain, and suffering.

Here is what Pastor Colin preached:

Make more of your joys than you do of your sorrows. Make more of your gains than you do of your losses. Do this in your thinking, in your speaking, and even in your praying, and you will grow in contentment. I’ve included praying here because of what Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). If you do this, “the peace of God… will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:7).

So bring your requests to God. But if your prayers are only a long list of requests, your praying will not bring you peace. All you are doing is filling your mind with problems in the presence of God. Don’t let your prayers become an exercise in worrying on your knees! Bring to mind the blessings of God in your life. Give thanks for all Christ has done for you and for all that you are in him. Bring your requests to God, with thanksgiving, and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.

Luther has a wonderful comment about “the rhetoric of the Spirit.” (Rhetoric relates to speaking, and so “the rhetoric of the Spirit” is Luther’s way of describing how the Holy Spirit speaks.) “If a cross comes, to make the cross but little, but if there is a mercy, to make the mercy great.”¹

The Devil has a different way of speaking, “If there is a cross, the Devil makes it greater than it is, and so brings discontent. And if there is a mercy, it is the rhetoric of the devil to make the mercy less. ‘Aye, indeed,’ [the Devil] says, ‘the thing is a good thing, but what is it? It is no big deal.’”²

When you are listening to music, you have some choices as to how it will sound. You can turn up the treble or you can turn up the bass. The music is the same, but it will sound quite different depending on the settings that you choose.

Turn up the ‘mercies’ in the music of your life. The rhetoric of the Spirit magnifies your mercies! A person who is filled with the Holy Spirit makes more of their blessings than they make of their sorrows.

[1] Cited in Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, p. 155, Banner of Truth, 1964. [2] Ibid., p. 156.

Let’s Start Something

Brothers and sisters, can we start something here today? Can we resolve to make more of our joys than we do of our sorrows? I’m envisioning a wave of mercy-filled thanksgiving that proclaims the greatness of God’s mercy, so that our struggles, sufferings, and pains become smaller in comparison.

So many of you are suffering. So this is for you, and for the body of Christ as a whole. Do this in the privacy of prayer, or add it to your social media feeds. Make the crosses in your life but little, but if there is a mercy, make the mercy great!

Here’s mine to start:

A great mercy is going shopping at the big grocery store, and making it through without pain! #MakingMercyGreat

A few practical ideas:

1. Pray

Take Pastor Colin’s suggestion, and don’t let your prayers become an exercise in worrying on your knees! Make God’s mercies great, especially as you commune with God in prayer.

2. Post on Social Media (#MakingMercyGreat)

For the sake of being encouraged by each other’s mercies, let’s call it #MakingMercyGreat on social media. Any time you see God’s mercy and desire to “turn up the ‘mercies’ in the music of your life,” use the hashtag to tell us what you are thankful for!

3. Send Me an Email

really want to hear about how God’s mercies are making your crosses but little. Send me an email: kleighwetherell@gmail.com. (If I can use your “mercy” on this blog, let me know. I might put together an article with a bunch of them listed.)

Take one of these actions right now. Ready, set, go!

bible-religion-christianity-gospel

17 Benefits to Reading the Entire Bible

As I set aside my Bible reading plan this year in favor of soaking in shorter passages, I realized that I didn’t need to choose between the two—nor did I want to! The benefits and joy of journeying the entire way through God’s salvation story are too good to miss, so I decided to do both.

Last year was the first time I had used a pre-made reading schedule (courtesy of Ligonier Ministries), and it was helpful in numerous ways. I’d encourage you to go through the entire Bible for these 17 reasons:

Continue reading

pexels-photo-46082

The Eternal Importance of Exercising Self-Control

I am a habitual nail-picker.

If I’m nervous, I play with my nails. If I’m distracted, I play with my nails. Whether something occupies my attention, or I have nothing else to do, guess what? I play with my nails. By the end of all my fiddling, I’ve practically worn my fingers down to the bone—or at least it seems that way, by how exposed and ashamed I usually feel.

Now that I’ve officially made you squirm, allow me to redeem the illustration: This tendency has caused me to wonder what Scripture says about self-control, why it is important to cultivate, and what it looks like when we exercise it. I’m ready to break my bad habit with gospel-power, and I’m praying this biblical exploration is equally helpful to you.

Continue reading

nature-mountain-path-tunnel (2)

Two Reasons to Draw Near to God in Suffering (Rather Than Reject Him)

Picture David laying prostrate before God in a dank, dark cave, the sweat of suffering coating his brow, as he cries out for comfort and deliverance from his enemies, who hotly pursue him.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

   How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

   and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)

Before the Lord, David pours out his frustration and distress, unsure if he will see the light of another day. In his isolation, as he hides himself from the ruthless King Saul, thoughts of defeat torment him—maybe God has hidden his face and will not help.

Yet, something beautiful is happening in David’s soul during this seemingly torturous scene in the cave. Rather than rejecting God and despairing of life, he is drawn by suffering to the throne of the only One who can save to the uttermost.

What made the difference?

Continue reading