Today’s guest post is by Malinda Fugate, someone I met through a conference I was blessed to attend, a conference for Christian women communicators called Lit. Whenever I read what Malinda has to say, whether it’s a blog post, her children’s book, or just a comment to a post in our Facebook group, I am uplifted by her positive attitude and witty way with words.
This post that she allowed me to repost on my site is one that inspired me to start memorizing Scripture again on my own morning walks. I hope it inspires you, as well. If you are interested in reading more by Malinda, visit her at her blog: malindafugate.com.
by Malinda Fugate
There is a crazy woman on my block. Every morning, she walks two dogs. As they slowly make their way down the sidewalk, she speaks to no one. Every now and then, it’s possible to catch words like “circumcision” and “God’s curse” or the more hopeful “grace” and “promise.” Day after day, this routine persists. Same woman, same dogs, same words recited.
At the beginning of the year, author and teacher Beth Moore invited anyone interested to memorize the book of Galatians. That’s right–the entire book. My initial response was to say, “that’s nice” and continue to scroll through social media. But the idea wouldn’t leave my mind in that nagging way God often uses to prompt us to action. It was January, and I needed a New Year’s resolution, so why not?
I could think of a few reasons why not, including that it seemed an impossible task. I can barely memorize a single verse, let alone an entire book! And word-for-word? Are you kidding me? I’m a master paraphraser. I’m great with learning concepts and generally what Scripture says, but I can never seem to say the words perfectly (the same goes for famous quotes or movie lines. It’s horribly embarrassing). Then someone pointed out that this was not something that could be accomplished by will or talent alone, nor was there any reason to approach it by our own strength. This wasn’t something to do FOR God, but WITH God. And hey, if the Holy Spirit was going to help me do this, then maybe there was some hope after all.
So, armed with my trusty smartphone app (a scripture memory tool called “Remember Me,” if you’re interested), I stepped into January with a goal: learn the first fifteen verses in Galatians by the end of the month. Strangely, I was terrified.
Yet, I learned it–every word, and even ahead of schedule. So I added the rest of chapter one. And a few weeks later, began chapter two. As the year crept forward, I practiced. Word by word, verse by verse, I spoke Galatians every morning while walking two little dogs through my neighborhood. Today was a landmark day as I successfully recited Paul’s words all the way through to the end of chapter four. Hallelujah!
Besides discovering a Spirit-assisted ability I never thought possible, there were more treasures to behold. It feels like the divinely-inspired words of Scripture are etching a groove into my brain…. a peaceful, life-breathing groove in the midst of anxious thoughts and day-to-day distractions. One night, I jolted awake from a nightmare. I began to speak Galatians until I was calm enough to sleep. Instead of replaying the disturbing dream in my head, I was remembering truths of grace and freedom from legalism. The familiar words were comforting.
I began to think about the difference between law and promise, something that I previously gave little attention. There is security in knowing that our salvation does not depend on our performance. When Paul reviews his past, we are reminded that our pasts are not barriers to grace. My Bible has become a rainbow of highlights as the verses come alive. What does it mean to be crucified with Christ? What do I have in common with the people of Galatia who are returning to old habits? Do we see the power behind God’s promise? Do we understand what it means to be “children of Abraham” and heirs to the promise God spoke centuries ago? The more attention that I give to this letter from Paul, the more I realize that there are treasures of truth to be unearthed from the pages.
So every morning, I speak God’s Word as I walk through my neighborhood. I pray that somehow I am a light to each of my neighbors, from the family in the corner house with the fountain in the yard to the homeless guy smoking weed in the parking lot across the street. God’s Word is alive and active and will not return void (Hebrews 4:12 and Isaiah 55:11). Maybe my Galatians practice will be used as a blessing from God?
And, it should be noted, that as soon as the words, “Paul, an apostle, sent not from men….” are spoken, two little dogs run to the door, ready for their leashes.
Malinda wrote an insightful children’s devotional that I hope to review someday called Bible Time for Active Kids. The Amazon description for this book is as follows: “Kids learn best through experience. Bible Time for Active Kids is a children’s devotional centered on the Word of God and includes activities that help them process biblical concepts. Instead of being distracted by the effort it takes to study quietly, kids will learn naturally through hands-on activities like playing, building, and using their imagination. Bible Time for Active Kids introduces stories and concepts while creating memorable experiences that bring children closer to the Lord. Designed for ages 7-12 working independently, younger disciples with guidance, or quick lessons for Sunday School teachers and homeschool parents!” To buy this devotional, click here
Malinda Fugate writes from the heart. Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words. Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA. Her writing includes children’s faith resources, commercial copywriting, various faith-based stage and screen plays, as well as co-producing “A Single Girls Guide To,” a lifestyle blog and web series. Malinda lives by the beach with her two pups, Yoshi and Poseidon. When she’s not writing or working at church, she might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area.
Tori Kelly CD Giveaway
Last week, I wrote a review and held a giveaway for Tori Kelly’s new Christian cd, and the winner is Kitty Minaj! Congratulations, Kitty! Please contact me at heather.bock[at]glimpsesofjesus.com with your address so I can have your new cd sent to you. If I don’t hear from you in a week, I will choose a new winner. Thank you so much for all who entered my drawing!