August 2024 Craft: Prayer Hand Knit Blanket

By Captain Jan Pemberton
Divisional Women’s Ministries SecretaryCascade Division

This is a perfect craft for those like me who have trouble with traditional crocheting or knitting. This project is to have a warm blanket at the end of your craft and pray your way through each hand stitch. Each loop done for this craft will be covered in precious prayers given to the Father of Heaven for peace, comfort, and love. This blanket can be for yourself or given as a gift to someone special who needs God’s comforting love.

Supplies:
(Supplies are for a larger-sized blanket.)
6-7 skeins of chenille chunky yarn
Supplies for a smaller lap-style blanket.
3- skeins of chenille chunky yarn
Scissors
Needle and thread (optional) – to reinforce areas where new skeins of yarn are joined.

Steps:

Step One: Start a slip knot.

To begin, you need to tie a slip knot to start your first chain, then pinch through the center of your slip knot to grab your working yarn and make another loop. You will repeat this process until you have 30 loops. If you want more information on how to tie a slip knot, there are many resources you can find online, repeat this process until you have started your first chain.

Step Two: When you have your first chain finished, start your first row. Be sure to point your working yarn in the direction you are working in; this help with keeping your work contained and easily

Step three: Starting with your first loop, pull another loop facing upwards, then go into the top of every single chain and pull a loop through, keeping all your sizes consistent.

Step Four: This first chain and loops can be a bit bunchy; keep flattening it out with your hands to prevent more twisting and turning.

Step Five: Make sure you have the same number of chain loops; for example, since I have 25 chains, I will have 25 loops.

Now it is time to start our second chain! Make sure to point the working yarn in the direction you are working in; start in the first loop, then pinch your fingers through the loop and pull the working yarn through, making another loop.

Final Steps: This is pretty much your entire process! These blankets take me about 2 hours to complete, so ensure you are comfortable. As someone with a bad back, you will want to ensure this step is not missed because you do not hurt your back by leaning too much. Trust me!

You will do all the following rows in the same way. There is just one important step to remember. Always skip the first stitch in each row. It doesn’t matter if the stitch direction is going left-to-right or right-to-left. If you are on a brand-new row, skip the first stitch and begin working in the 2nd loop. By doing this, you will be creating a beautifully braided effect along the edges.

For each stitch, you just put your hand through a loop, grab the working yarn and pull it into the loop to create another loop. These loops can be quite loose or tight. It is up to you. I recommend trying to keep the loops on the side tighter rather than looser. Mine came out a little looser than I expected, but next time I will choose to keep the knitting tighter. Otherwise, the braided edges will look messy or too loose.
Keep working row by row until you have the desired length. It takes very little time to create this blanket.

Extra tips learned during this process:
There are a few ways to attach or join with new yarn. You will use at least three or four skeins of yarn and will need to attach new yarn to the piece as you go along. For me personally, I did a lot of research and tried to learn from some experts in this field. I found two recommended methods.

The way I attached a new piece was very simple. When I got close to the end of my skein, I pulled out a new one, took its end, and tied it to the end of my working piece. I then tightened it as much as possible and trimmed the ends. Since I used chenille yarn, this was nearly unnoticeable when I was finished.

An alternative method you can use is needle and thread (choose a color like your chenille yarn) and create several stitches through that very knot. When we are putting this much love into a blanket such as this, we would never want it to come apart, especially if this prayer blanket were a gift. If that happens to you and you made your own blanket without the thread reinforcement, you should just be able to use some extra yarn (if it wasn’t tightly knitted) and re-knot it where the knot came out. It should work just fine.

The alternative method is beginning a new row with your new yarn and weaving the ends of your old yarn into the back side of the piece. This might be easier in the long run but also time-consuming; it is your choice.

I hope you enjoyed this process as much as I did. I am terrible at traditional knitting and crocheting, but this is one that I can see myself doing for many others as a precious handmade gift. As each loop and strand were knitted together, I prayed that whoever received this blanket be blessed with the love of Jesus, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the grace and acceptance that only God can give.

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August 2024 Bible Study: Meditation and Memorization of Scripture

By Captain Jan Pemberton
Divisional Women’s Ministries SecretaryCascade Division

Instructions:
This Bible Study contains questions about the study of Meditation and Memorization of Scripture. Take your time as you read each question and read the passage of scripture for that corresponding question in the Bible. Read and study each answer in the Bible and then write an answer in your own words.

Overview:

Memorizing Scripture and Christian meditation is similar and components of one another. Before your time in meditative prayer, you can study a passage of scripture many times and, through the process, keep a list of questions you want to take to the Lord during your time together, such as finding the greater meaning of the text you just read and open your heart to the Holy Spirit to speak and minister to you.

  1. Read Psalms 1:1-6.
    a. How can we delight in God’s instructions?
    b. How can meditating on scripture help us pursue righteous living?
  2. Read Psalms 119:15-16
    a. What is the benefit of reading and meditating on God’s word?
    b. How can these verses grow us closer to God?
  3. Read Psalms 119:97-99.
    a. How often are we to meditate on scripture?
    b. When we read this scripture, what happens to us?
  4. Read Psalm 143:5.
    a. Why should we ponder the work of the Lord?
  5. Read Joshua 1:8.
    a. When should we meditate on God’s word?
    b. What happens to us if we meditate on God’s word?
  6. Read Philippians 4:2-9.
    a. What urging or encouragements, do you notice in these verses?
    b. What are we to think about according to these verses?
    c. Why is it good to keep God’s word in your heart?
  7. Read 1 Timothy 4:13-15.
    a. Where should we read scripture, and until when?
    b. What should we do with this gift God has given us?
    c. Why should we meditate on God’s Word?
  8. Read Romans 12:2
    a. What happens to our minds when we read and study God’s word?
    b. In learning His will, should we test God?
  9. There is an Acronym called PROBE. How can we use these in our lives in memorizing God’s word to share with others?
    a. Pray
    b. Repent
    c. Obey
    d. Believe
    e. Express
  10. Read the verses below. How can these verses give you strength and purpose and connect you with the Lord?
    a. John 3:16
    b. Jeremiah 29:11
    c. Matthew 6:33
    d. Matthew 28:18-20
    e. Joshua 1:7-9
    f. Philippians 4:13
    g. 2 Corinthians 5:16-20
    h. Psalm 23:1
    i. Proverbs 3:5-8
    j. Romans 8:26-28

When we are introspective about our time in the Word of God and with our time in prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our time with the Lord, we can feel rejuvenated in our minds, bodies, and our souls. When we take the time to reflect upon the verses God has put before us in our devotions, mentioned in a Bible study or in a sermon, we need to do our own study in order to learn more about what God meant in those verses. If we have questions, we need to go to our Officers and ask questions because that is the only way we learn. We must do our research. Look in commentaries and the works of John Wesley and other theologians in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. We need to be people who hunger and thirst for God’s word, and through diligent study and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will see what the Lord has in store for us.

Memory Verse
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take  or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,  which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

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August 2024 Devotional: Meditating on God’s Word

By Captain Jan Pemberton
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary Cascade Division

When we look at the word meditation, we think of someone on a yoga mat with their legs crossed in the lotus position chanting or something similar to that type of scenario. That is not the case when we look at meditating on the word of God. When we look at ways to take the time to meditate on the word of the Lord, we can set ourselves up for success in reading scripture. This time is also be seen as a time of contemplation. Some of us look to steal away to a quiet retreat, such as our offices with the door closed, some of us thrive and flourish in our alone time in a bustling coffee shop, and some of us like to listen to instrumental Christian or Classical music in our headphones to drown out the world around us. No matter how you recharge your spiritual batteries and meditate on the word of God, that moment in time is sacred and special.

When we are in Christian meditation, we can take our time reading the scripture God laid on our hearts at that moment or one our daily devotions have suggested. We can take the time to pray and meditate upon God’s word in a way that gives us time alone with the Holy Spirit to guide us into a deeper relationship with Christ. When we are in the midst of our meditative time with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, we are taking the time to think deeply, to prepare our hearts and our minds for the time we are about to have with the blessed Trinity and to prepare ourselves for how they will speak into our lives through our prayer time.

God’s Holy Spirit is there to help us when we are looking for guidance to learn more about Christ and His word and how He lived His life here on earth. There are many Scriptures that invoke meditative rest while in the presence of the Lord. A few are

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm19:14

“Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.” Psalms 48:9-10

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

When we take the time to ponder the word and take the time to listen to what the Holy Spirit wants us to learn from scripture, we cannot rush this precious time. Take time to practice deep, slow breaths, and this will cause your body and mind to become calm and focused on what God wants to learn from your studies. This is a time of quiet, receptive prayer without words, and during this time, we can experience and enjoy the presence of God.

When we take the time to meditate on the Lord and His word, we not only can experience true peace, but through the Holy Spirit, we can experience perfect peace! When we have times of anxiety, frustration, and depression, there is nothing that can match the perfect peace we can receive from God’s word.

As we prepare to take the time to meditate on God’s word and rest in His presence and perfect peace while waiting for an answer in his time, this is a time when we can ask ourselves some questions to seek God’s answer.

When we look at meditating on God’s word, we must also look at the verses that speak into our lives and keep those scriptures close to us and have them written on our hearts. This is where memorization comes into our time with God. When we pray to the Lord, the Holy Spirit is there to bring those verses that have impacted our lives in times of great stress, worry, doubt, and great joy. This is why reading our Bible is essential and goes hand in hand with a productive prayer life. This act of memorization of scripture is not to stress us out more it is a time to reflect on passages that spoke into our lives.

Prayer
Father God, I pray that I take the time for the rest, renewal, and refreshment that I need for my soul. Lord, when I can take time to myself to seek comfort in your word, let me do so with an intentional heart. Allow me the time of refreshment and time with you to comfort me while I am comforting others. As I pour into others, let me take the time to allow you to pour into me. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

We can ask ourselves the following questions as we prepare for our time with God.

  1. How can I prepare and focus my heart and mind to be fully committed to this time of contemplation with God?
  2. Is my space conducive to making this time with God intentional?
  3. How has God spoken to me through events in my life?
  4. What scriptures has God placed on my heart that I know by memory? How can I use them in my life and in my ministry to others?

Below are some tips for author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s book “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us” (page 194) on memorization, and we can use these tips to kick start our time of meditating on God’s word and writing those words on our hearts.

MEMORIZATION
DESIRE: To always carry the life-shaping words of God in me and in all places.

DEFINITION: Memorization is the process of continually remembering the words, truths, and images God uses to shape us. Memorization provides us with a store of learning, which can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

SCRIPTURE:

  • “Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97
  • “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
  • Then they remembered his words.” (Luke 24:8) “I think it is right to refresh your memory. . . . And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” 2 Peter 1:13, 15

PRACTICE INCLUDES: Memorizing Scripture, hymns, poems, quotes, etc., rereading portions of Scripture until they are committed to memory, memorizing Scripture verses that clearly reveal God’s plan of salvation, memorizing the books of the Bible, particular dates and times as well as where various verses are found learning by heart portions of Scripture that encourage you when you are tempted.

GOD-GIVEN FRUIT: Keeping company with Jesus by hiding his Word in your heart, recollecting God-given encouragement and exhortation, developing a habit of remembering that anchors your life in biblical truth, committing to memory Scripture, hymns, poems, and quotes that God is using in your life, knowing where well-loved portions of Scripture are located.

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The Need to Forgive

By Major Beth Desplancke

She hurt me deeply. Her words to me were mean, and untruthful. She attacked my character and my capability. She came across as being perfect, without any faults, and I had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I tried to defend myself, to correct her perspective of me, but she would not listen. No matter what I did, she would not change her view of me.

She shared her opinions about me as facts to other people. She came across as being perfect, without any faults, and I had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They listened and believed her version of reality.
I was mad. I deserved and desired an apology. Just seeing her made me angrier; instantly my jaw would become clenched, my shoulders would tighten, and my hands would ball into a fist. Simply hearing her voice would cause the feelings to bubble inside of me.

She had moved on. She hurt me and didn’t care. I told myself that I was over it but knew better. I was still upset. She continued to fill my thoughts, and conversations. The whole situation took up way too much of my time. I am not proud of my behavior, but I was like a dog with a bone – I wasn’t going to let it go.

Then one day in Sunday School class, the infamous verse came up in the discussion. As soon as I heard the reference, I knew what the verse said, and I did not like it. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says these words about loving your enemies, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-44).

I squirmed in my seat. She wasn’t my enemy. Well, she wasn’t my enemy before the incident. Now, after what she had done, I didn’t want to be around her. Yes, in my mind, she had become the enemy. Of course I will pray for her, I thought to myself. I will pray that she comes to her senses and realizes what she had done was wrong, and she will apologize. Or better yet, she will be treated as I was treated and experience the same kind of hurt and pain. Deep down, I knew that this wasn’t what God was intending with this verse.

As If I weren’t uncomfortable enough, we then turned to the passage later in the book of Matthew, when Peter asks Jesus a question about forgiveness. Matthew 18:21-22 says, Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Peter was looking for an easy answer – a limit to how many times he had to forgive someone who wronged him. Jesus’ answer wasn’t a mathematical solution. Some translations say it “seventy times seven” times (490). What Jesus is saying is that forgiveness is not to be calculated. It is unlimited. We are to continue to forgive people, no matter how many times they have hurt us.

God was really trying to get my attention that Sunday morning. I knew I needed to forgive her. I wasn’t hurting her; I was only hurting myself. She had moved on; I hadn’t. My stewing over it was doing nothing to her; she probably had no idea that it was still festering inside of me.

Diane Marr, in her book, The Reluctant Traveler, says this about unforgiveness: “Unforgiveness can be likened to a parasite it feeds on the anger and hurt of its host, finding its most satisfying nourishment in human pain. It thrives on the cycle of replayed scenes, recalled anguish, and rehashed justification for holding fast to grudges. Essentially, unforgiveness grows plump on our desire for revenge.” The picture of a parasite growing inside of me is enough to gross me out and want to forgive.

The Bible is very clear. Forgiving others is a command; it is not optional! I may not feel like forgiving her for what she had done, but God expected me to do it. Another verse that came up during that Sunday school class, one that I had memorized as a small child, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Ok, God, I get the hint.

I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking God to forgive me for my attitude towards her. I asked God to work in my heart and to also work in hers. Every time those feelings of unforgiveness and anger started to boil up, I immediately asked God to help me to forgive her.

There have been a lot of “hers” in my life. The stories and situations are different, but my lack of unforgiveness is a common reoccurrence in my life. I know my experience isn’t unique. We all have times when we need to ask forgiveness of others as well as when we need to do the forgiving.

Forgiveness does not come easily or naturally. We cannot forgive in our own strength. We must rely on His Spirit, and His power to forgive others. Instead of being a bulldog chewing on a bone or allowing unforgiveness to grow in our hearts like a parasite, we need to remember that Christ forgave us of our sin, and we should forgive others. As the Lord’s prayer says, forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12).

Summer Bible Study: Psalm 119

By Major Beth Desplancke
Territorial Women’s Ministries Program Secretary

As you soak in the sun or soak in a pool, I encourage you also to use the summer months to soak in the Word of God. Spend this summer soaking in one passage of Scripture – Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is a record of a man’s commitment to and love for the Word of God. Psalm 119 is divided into 22 stanzas of 8 verses each. Each weekly lesson will look at two stanzas (16 verses). Although Psalm 119 is one continuous chapter, each lesson can stand alone (if people are busy traveling and miss weekly programs). This is a great study that you can take with you on your travels and do it individually, or gather with a group of women over the summer and dig into God’s Word.

Matthew Henry, the great 18th century Bible commentator, was introduced to Psalm 119 as a child. His father, Philip Henry, told his children to take one verse of Psalm 119 every morning to meditate on, and thereby go through the entire psalm twice in the year. Philip said to his children, “That will bring you to be in love with all the rest of the Scriptures.” Perhaps that practice was why Matthew Henry loved the Bible so much that he wrote commentary that is used still today.

Click on the week number for each individual lesson.

Week 1: Psalm 119:1-16

Week 2: Psalm 119:17-32

Week 3: Psalm 119:33-48

Week 4: Psalm 119:49-64

Week 5: Psalm 119:65-80

Week 6: Psalm 119:81-96

Week 7: Psalm 119:97-112

Week 8: Psalm 119:113-128

Week 9: Psalm 119:129-144

Week 10: Psalm 119:145-160

Week 11: Psalm 119:161-176

Download the complete 11-Week Bible Study