I decided to create a list of memory verses for my family to learn throughout the year. I picked 50 verses which we will spend a week reciting. When I was in college, one of my professors had a similar list and called it his “Nifty Fifty.” I decided to adopt it for this list as well. Each of these verses was hand-picked because it does one of the following:
- It helps my family to know the character of God, His Son and how to respond to him.
- It shows a way for my family to live more like Jesus.
Kellar’s Nifty Fifty
- Exodus 20:12 – Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
- Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength.
- Psalm 103:13-14 – A father is tender and kind to his children. In the same way, the Lord is tender and kind to those who have respect for him. He knows what we are made of. He remembers that we are dust.
- Psalm 118:24 – This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
- Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
- Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
- Psalm 127:3 – Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
- Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
- Psalm 147:3-5 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
- Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
- Proverbs 1:10 – If sinful people entice you, do not give in to them.
- Proverbs 1:8-9 – My child, listen to your father’s advice. Don’t turn away from your mother’s teaching. What they teach you will be like a beautiful crown on your head. It will be like a chain to decorate your neck.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.
- Proverbs 13:10 -Pride only leads to arguing. But those who take advice are wise.
- Proverbs 14:6 – Those who make fun of others look for wisdom and don’t find it. But knowledge comes easily to those who understand what is right.
- Proverbs 20:11 – A child is known by his actions. He is known by whether his conduct is pure and right.
- Proverbs 25:18 – A person who lies about his neighbor is like a club, a sword or a sharp arrow.
- Isaiah 26:3 – Lord, you will give perfect peace to anyone who commits himself to be faithful to you. That’s because he trusts in you.
- Isaiah 43:5 – Do not be afraid. I am with you.
- Jeremiah 29:11 – I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.
- Matthew 22:39 – Love your neighbor as you love yourself
- Luke 2:52 – Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.
- Luke 12:34 – Your heart will be where your riches are.
- Luke 6:31 – Do to others as you want them to do to you.
- Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good amount will be poured into your lap. It will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The same amount you give will be measured out to you.
- John 3:30 – He must become more important. I must become less important.
- John 5:24 – What I’m about to tell you is true. Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be found guilty. He has crossed over from death to life.
- Acts 20:35 – It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Romans 6:23 – When you sin, the pay you get is death. But God gives you the gift of eternal life because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 – Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be brave. Be strong. Be loving in everything you do.
- Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself.
- Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 – God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it.
- Ephesians 4:29 -Don’t let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen.
- Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.
- Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents as believers in the Lord. Obey them because it’s the right thing to do.
- Philippians 2:3-4 – Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others.
- Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.
- Philippians 4:6-7 – Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.
- Colossians 3:2 – Think about things that are in heaven. Don’t think about things that are on earth.
- Colossians 3:23 – Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Never stop praying.
- 1 Timothy 4:12 – Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Set an example for the believers in what you say and in how you live. Also set an example in how you love and in what you believe. Show the believers how to be pure.
- Hebrews 13:5 – Don’t be controlled by love for money. Be happy with what you have.
- James 1:5 – If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault.
- James 1:19-20 – Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. A person’s anger doesn’t produce the kind of life God wants.
- 1 Peter 5:5 – Follow the lead of those who are older. All of you, put on a spirit that is free of pride toward each other as if it were your clothes.
- 1 John 5:3 – Here is what it means to love God. It means that we obey his commands. And his commands are not hard to obey.
- Revelation 22:12-13 – Look! I am coming soon! I bring my rewards with me. I will reward each person for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the First and the Last. I am the Beginning and the End.
“What I feared has come upon me. What I dreaded has happened to me.”
This verse comes in the context of Job cursing the day of his birth. His misery is so great that he is regretting even being born. I can gratefully say I have never been there but I think Job relates something that all of us have felt or experienced to a degree. Fear feeds on itself. It is so easy to let our fears and worries get the best of us. It really has a way of validating itself.
If fear were a person in your life, it would often make comments like, “See, I told you you would never be able to do that.” “Didn’t I tell you that you shouldn’t have tried that.” Fear’s number one attack is “I told you so.” I think the best response in situations like these is to just have a conversation with it. Fear would love nothing more than for you to let it have the last word. Instead of simply saying, “Yeah, Fear, you are probably right,” respond with, “I see things differently because ________.” It is easy to talk yourself into a better reality when you consider the alternatives. Often the better reality after a conversation with fear turns out to have more potential than if fear hadn’t reared its ugly head. Such was the case with Job. Job 42:12 says that God blessed the latter part of his life more than the former part.
How do we stifle God’s desire to bless things even more because of our fears? We hold back on pursuing God sized visions because we fear we cannot accomplish it on our own. Isn’t this the whole idea behind a God-sized vision – that we CANT accomplish it on our own? Why would we even want that? If we were to decide that we were not going to attempt anything unless we knew it could NOT be accomplished without God’s divine intervention, what would change about our ministries? When we limit ourselves to doing only what we can accomplish, and we fail, we will find ourselves saying, “See. I knew this would happen. What I feared has come upon me. What I dreaded has happened to me.” But when we attempt to join God in a journey where only he can provide success, failure becomes a better teacher. It strengthens our trust rather than crippling our self-confidence. This seems to be a much better alternative than allowing fear to feed on itself.
Jesus said in Matthew 9:29, “Become what you believe” (The Message). Allow what God can do through you to dictate what is possible. His power is greater than all your fears.
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
he leads me beside quiet waters,
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
When I was a kid, the church we went to had a huge tapestry in the foyer. Depicted on it was a pasture with nearly a hundred shades of green. Etched around the edges was this psalm of David. Passing by this every Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday night numbed me to it’s beauty and the power it’s words have for life. I can’t say that I have ever heard a sermon preached on it. I don’t think it was ever one of my required memory verses. I have recently come back to this neglected verse and it has become a source of strength for me.
God is always doing one better. It is not enough for God that he provides physical nourishment with green pastures – he restores my soul. The journey he is taking me on wanders deeper than beside quiet waters – he guides me in paths of righteousness. The darkest evils are ignored when we realize his presence is greater, his rod and staff mightier and his comfort so assuring that we can feast at his table right in front of our enemies. When God anoints with oil…
Abiding in him, love and goodness follow.
This is where I want to serve from. What would happen in my family if I lived in the 23rd Psalm. How would the ministry God has given me be affected if it is out of the overflow of what he is doing in my life? If I were walking in paths of righteousness for HIS namesake instead of mine, what would look different?
The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want … but to follow.
There’s nothing like a baby being plopped on top of you and the smell of ammonia rousing you into wakefulness. Being a dad has it’s perks and lately they seem to come in especially pungent smells. With the addition of cloth diapers into our family’s daily parenting rituals, fatherhood has entered an all new state of nasal excellence!
While on the one hand, being woke up by the smell of diaper death does not make for a happy morning, it was a sweet reminder that I am a dad. I can think of a million more pleasant smells that remind me I am a dad – playdough being squished under my feet, a bowl of soggy cheerios, melted chocolate on the car seat, baby shampoo, macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes we can quite simply “smell” our kids coming from the other room.
I wonder what we smell like to God. In 2nd Corinthians chapter 2, Paul says,
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”
He says that we are to God the aroma of Christ but then says we are the smell of death to some (those who are perishing) and the fragrance of life to others (those who are being saved). I once had a friend who looked down on Christians. He would say things like, “that reeks of Christianity.” He had been burned by some Christian’s and the deathly smell of smoke still burned his nostrils. For him, the aroma of Christ was an unwanted scent that unfortunately was probably tied to a well intentioned Christian who just wanted to smell good. We never want to be the smelly kid in class. Sometimes the smelly kid was the one who tried too hard to smell good! In order for our aroma as Christians to be one that makes people salivate, it cannot be too overpowering!
We underestimate our sense of smell sometimes. It really is amazing how what we smell can give us cues about the world around us. Walking in the door and smelling onions being sautéed. Fight or flight mechanisms in our brain going into alert mode when we smell smoke. We say “something smells fishy” when we feel unsure. Smells remind us of familiar places and long lost memories. This morning I woke up with the smell of diaper death beating up the sunrise. For some reason, it made me think of all the smelly situations we can get ourselves in and how the aroma of Christ is clouded by a foggy stench of our own sin at times. Paul says that when we smell good, God leads us in triumphal procession! We are the smell of defeat or the smell of victory.
Smell good to those around you today!
This morning I woke up and went for a bike ride. Miriam woke up crying and after I helped her go back to sleep, I realized that by being woken up by her, I had been granted a few moments where the house was quiet and I could have some time alone. Since Krista has been encouraging me to get a hobby and was pleased I was okay with one as active as bike-riding, I figured going for a little ride would be a good chance to focus my thoughts today. I really do love mornings and find that when I push myself to actually make the best of them, I am particularly contemplative.
I rode around our neighborhood (looking at googlemaps.com first so I wouldn’t get lost) and created for myself a loop that I could complete in about 20 minutes. When I returned, everyone was still asleep and I realized, I had more time to spend with God. That’s when I began my search for some type of devotional literature. I looked around the house and didn’t find anything worthy so I turned my search online. I went to some of my favorite spots only to find that nothing was particularly inspiring. Then it hit me….I could read the Bible!
I don’t know if it is just because I have been preoccupied with church stuff or home stuff but for some reason, it is often easier to turn to devotionals rather than the Bible for spiritual nourishment. This morning though, after my “aha!” moment, I turned to John 10. I think it may have been because I rode past this large field with a horse in it, I was thinking of a pasture that my thoughts were focusing on Jesus the Good Shepherd. Here is what John said to me,
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
While I do not think that reading devotionals will save me, I do think they will deepen my relationship with God. At those times when I am in need of pasture, I quickly go to my favorite authors in hopes that they will give me just what I need. This morning, it was just the Good Shepherd. he called me back to him by the sound of his voice. Entering through him brought me the salvation this morning I needed. He allows me to “come in and go out” and it is there that I find pasture. He knows the places where this sheep can be fed and where the best feeding place are at. Funny what happens when you try to enter the pasture through the gate instead of trying to hop over fences.