• Beth Hildebrand

That means YOU too!


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I saw a challenge at the beginning of January. It’s already February. Another resolution became just another thought put on the back burner on very low. It was a good idea, but knowing myself, I’m telling myself there’s no way I can do it. I’ll start off strong but in a month or so, it will have become a “that would’ve been nice but…” or a “I give up and that’s just a dream I’ll have to just keep dreaming”.

The challenge is to memorize. MEMORIZE?!?! That is so not me. I’ve never been good at memorizing anything. So, I tried to forget about it. I tried to come up with excuses. A month ago around January 10th or so, I thought… “I’m going to be gone for a week next week and I’ll get far behind…I haven’t even started it yet so that in itself is a good enough reason. If I was going to do this, then I should’ve started a week ago!”

But that pesky tug wouldn’t go away. “OK…I’ll look into it. Well, that looks pretty cool. It can be done at your own pace? Anyone can at least try it.” Well….alright.

But those weren’t the main reasons I signed on. Being it’s to memorize some of the book of Romans in the bible…that is a big reason why. Having just studied Romans last year, I know I learned so much from it. Paul’s letter to the Romans is the foundation for believers (and nonbelievers searching) and is probably one of the most important pieces of literature ever written on how to live a life for Christ. It’s the gospel: the Good News, how to live as believers in a pagan world, relationships, spiritual warfare, how to have a servant heart, and hope that comes through righteousness and faith.

This Romans Project is challenging whoever wants to try (that means you can too!)…to memorize Romans chapters 1, 8 and 12. Those entire chapters. I’ve never done that before…memorized an entire chapter. I have a handful of verses in my lock vault that I pull out when I need encouragement but an entire chapter?! I always just thought of rabbis doing that. (oh but aren’t we to be rabbi’s too?)


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So, there’s post-its in the car and on the bathroom mirror. And even cooler is how you memorize it on the website. You type it at your own time and own speed and it really is pretty clever whoever thought of using this in a way to help us memorize. I’ve told myself: “Just do the best you can. I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’m not expecting to remember all the verses exactly word for word (but I’m willing to try!) but I’m believing God will take some of these verses and teach me.

And it’s happened already.

I’m in the middle of a study called Living in a Pluralistic Society by Tim Keller. Boy…I’m learning some things I’ve never known were in the bible and it’s eye opening to see how our country today is so much like the Israelites during the days of Judges, Daniel and Jeremiah. (that’s a whole ‘nother topic someday!)

Today was a day to reflect on that study and what I’ve learned. Jeremiah 29: 1-14 are the instructions the Israelites, who were living amongst the pagans, were given from the prophet Jeremiah. God didn’t want them to seclude themselves from the pagans and live in their own little bubble and criticize the non-believers. God didn’t want them to only be joy-filled and confident people and know his commands, but to also live by discipleship and get their hands dirty and serve. God wanted the believers and non-believers to live in a community together so they could help each other.

Keller says God “purposes to bless the pagan cities with the presence of Christians, just as he purposes to humble and teach the Christians through the pagan cities….God is loving, wise, and holy and Christ brought the love, wisdom, and holiness of God down and showed it to us in concrete form. That is what we are to do. Christians to be truly ‘incarnate’ in the culture, yet our ‘citizenship’ is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). We are to bring the love, wisdom and holiness into the midst of our culture, yet without sin.”

OK..that’s revealing, convicting and makes your heart evaluate your life and motives. Just be an example. Live amongst, work for, work with but stay obedient to God’s truth.

So what does that have to do with memorizing Romans? Well, this same day I’m reflecting on the lesson about believers and non-believers and followers or just fans, I got onto ScriptureType and was ready to move onto my next two verses. Romans 1: 5-6. And this is what it is:

“Through him and for his name’s sake, we receive grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles (non believers) to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

We receive grace and apostleship. We are called to live among the believers and non-believers. In other words, we are given the instruction to tell non-believers or just- Sunday- morning believers about God’s grace and love and what He’s done for us. Share your story. Be an example of Jesus in your every day life. And still make sure to live and commune with other believers for love, encouragement and support.

Isn’t that so similar to what I just learned from the Scriptures in Jeremiah? I don’t believe that was just a coincidence. I see it as a little affirmation that I should keep going with the memorizing thing. I’m OK if I end up forgetting half of it…but I do believe there will be some verses that God specifically wants me to learn from and remember.

And when I first agreed to do this, I thought, “I’m not going to tell anyone I’m doing this because I’d be embarrassed or disappointed if I couldn’t do it. So, I’ll just keep it to myself.” But is that what God called Paul to do, Jesus’ disciples to do? No. They’re to spread the Good News and God’s promises, so should I keep this to myself?

Why would anyone want to keep the gift of God’s Word to themselves?

So, I want you to take this challenge, too! Anyone can do this! That means YOU. Won’t you join me? Just give it a try? That’s all I’m doing and we can excitedly wait to see how God can use this avenue to grow us up a little more.

Giving thanks for:

#1198 a song heard – first song heard today “Remind Me Who I Am” by Jason Gray Please remind me who I am to You, Lord. Remind me that I belong to You….

#1199 a soft word – “listen”

#1200 where I saw the light – the light on the alarm clock 5:55 a.m…time to start a new day the Lord has made!

#1201 gift found on paper –

But God, with the unfathomable richness of His love and mercy focused on us, united us with the Anointed One and infused our lifeless soul with life – even though we were buried under mountains of sin – and saved us by His grace. He raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly realms with our beloved Jesus. He did this for a reason: so that for all eternity we will stand as a living testimony to the incredible riches of His grace and kindness that He freely give to us by uniting us with Jesus. For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in Jesus to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. Ephesian 2:4-11 (The Voice) (emphasis added)

#1202 gift found in person – the passion and desire to make a difference in our community

#1203 gift of the Word…taking the challenge to memorize Romans 1, 8 and 12 in 2013 (Won’t you join me? It’s never too late! I’m not very good and memorizing things, but I’m going to try and would love to with you!)

#1204 gift at 2:30pm – working on a new book for 93 year-young man

#1205 gift at 6:30pm – dropping son off a church for a Walking Wisely Weekend {W3}youth retreat.


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#1206 going to Elon basketball game with a friend and 350 other church friends

#1207 beautiful sunset in January beyond the pre-mature red buds on the birch tree


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#1208 – 20 Years ago today is the day I gave my heart and life to Christ and I’ve never regretted it!

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