Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday's Top Ten (Why Mommy's Should Memorize Scripture)

Part of the women's discipleship process in our church (that is highly encouraged) is scripture memorization. Here's 10 reasons why this is a vital aspect of women's time together: 

1. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34) These are Jesus' Words exactly. He rebuked the Pharisees who (after Jesus healed a demon-oppressed man) said, "It is only by Beezebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." (vs.26) and Jesus (knowing their heart) told them otherwise (that "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand." In other words, if he was a demon, why would he cast out demons?) Jesus goes on to explain how to know their heart, "...the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. ... I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Ch.12:33-37) Therefore, if I say anything at all, if I offer my children any Biblical encouragement, I want it to be HIS Words, because mine are utterly worthless. If I don't spend time in God's Word, how would I know what He says? And if I don't know what He says then I find myself speaking about nothing worthwhile, and then I'm in danger of that last verse: of standing before God on the day that I meet Him, being held accountable for every word that came out of my mouth. The fear of that alone forces me to take this seriously.

2. "As we focus our minds and hearts to understand the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will continue to illumine it and write it indelibly on our hearts." (Furman, G. Glimpses of Grace, p.170) Gloria Furman tells us that we will gain tremendous benefits from "persisting in prayerful meditation on passages of Scripture." By saying a verse, chapter, or book (yes, book) over and over again we are meditating on His Word and allowing it to seep into our very innermost being. Not only that, but the Holy Spirit will constantly bring it to mind, especially when we need it.

3. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:14 The Israelites sang this Psalm of David and those aren't the only words that we should emulate, "More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." (vs.10) They = God's Word. We should desire God's Word above ALL else, through his perfect Word we will be transformed into His image because God's Word is all about HIM.

4. Memorization is Observation. There are 4 key ingredients to studying Scripture: Observation (Author, Audience, Purpose, sentences, word meanings, historical context, etc.), Interpretation (Am I interpreting it correctly?), Correlation (Does my interpretation match up with the rest of Scripture?) and Application (After all that, how does this apply to me?). Observation is the piece that takes the most work and the piece that women struggle with the most. It's our brain. We were designed to connect everything to everything. In studying the Bible that can be a curse and a blessing. A curse because while we should be observing the text, we skip to correlation and sometimes we "correlate" incorrectly. Skipping steps is a big no-no if you want to make sure that you're INTERPRETING Scripture correctly. Which God does not take lightly. It's HIS Word and it was written for a very specific purpose. We often miss apply Scripture because we can't wait to get to verse 10 when we should be meditating on verse 1. By memorizing verse by verse we are in essence forcing our correlating brain to slooooooow down and meditate, which is so difficult for us multi-tasking, thinking-of-100-things-at-once, Mommy brains.

5. Keep  Your Way Pure. "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word." - Psalm 119:9-16 (Underlining is mine.) This Psalm does not need much explanation, but there are a few things you should know about it: it's an acrostic poem that we lose in translation from Hebrew to English :( and the theme is "The Word of God." Psalm 119 sums up our whole purpose for existence: to know God and glorify Him. There is no other way to know Him than through His Word. The Israelite's memorized this Psalm (alphabetic poems make that easier) so they would always remember that their hope is in His Word (vs.81, 114) and that "it's a light to my path" (vs.105) and and and and... Psalm 119 is one of my favorites and it's worth reading and knowing. In order to keep your life from sin, and to help your children do the same, do as this Psalm suggests: store up His Word in your heart.

6.  "Scripture that is read or recited from memory is the purest form of biblical encouragement. As you use the Bible to encourage your children, you are relying on the Holy Spirit to direct your words and God's Word to them. ... If you ask the Holy Spirit to give you something to say to your children, He will. It doesn't matter if your message is ten words or ten thousand. If you offer it in the power of the Spirit, it will be effective." (Clarkson, C. Heartfelt Discipline, p.111) By relying on the Holy Spirit to speak through you, you will emulate the qualities of the Holy Spirit which are love, patience, kindness, selflessness, self-control, gentleness... all qualities that are impossible to have within you all the time because you're an imperfect, sinful human being. By making God's Word the Word of your heart, those are the words you will speak to everyone, and most importantly your children.

7. Memorization is for Multitaskers! For busy mommy's it is nearly impossible to find a time to sit down and actually study God's Word without interruption; you can memorize and do dishes at the same time!

8. There will be battles and we need to be prepared. You may not always have your Bible. So when you need to say something, pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. Then trust that He will bring it to mind when it's needed. 

9. There are two things God values most: His Word and His Name. "... you have exalted above all things your name and your word." (Psalm 138:2) So if those are the two things He has exalted above EVERYTHING, I want to make sure I pay attention to it and teach my children what God has exalted above all else.

10. The Words are like medicine. And every mommy needs soul medicine, because there will be tough days and if you focus on the hope found in God's Word, those loooong days will seem like milliseconds in eternity. By feasting on the Word and making it your obsession, you will seriously need nothing else.

I always think of the movie, The Book of Eli when I think of memorization. He knew the entire book and the book wasn't lost as a result. It's one of my all time favorites...
The Holy Spirit can and will use His Words, make them the Words of your heart for all those reasons and more.

After writing this I Googled "Memorize Scripture" and found this website that offers 10 more reasons to memorize His Word: Rooted Families. I thought it was worth sharing because the reasons are phenomenal!

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