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Is accurate word-for-word memorization worth the time? We can semi-learn, recite-and-run, and skip review altogether. But, "every word of God is pure…" (Prov. 30:5). Since God has preserved His Word without error, won’t we care to know it deeply and exactly? The keys to accuracy are thorough memory work in the beginning, correction of errors, and regular review. We’ll touch on these topics in future posts.
But for today, there’s a ground-level matter to settle: TIME! Continue reading
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work."
Nobody likes driving through school zones. Well, at least I don’t. Watching my speedometer fall from 40 to 20 MPH each morning during my commute is a painful experience — especially when there are no children around to justify the slowdown! I keep a close eye on my speedometer as I drive through, not so much because I’m concerned about going over the speed limit, but because I want to go as fast as I legally can. Once I’m finally past the “end school zone” sign, I quickly accelerate back to normal speed and continue on my way to work.
The problem with this mentality is that I miss the whole point of the law. School zones don’t exist just to annoy impatient drivers like me, but to protect the lives and safety of children. I might obey the letter of the law by driving the speed limit, but I ignore its intent every time I pay more attention to the speedometer than my surroundings. Continue reading
“I am the Lord your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage.”
When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, He began with a reminder of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. The Lord’s promise to “deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians” had been fulfilled (Exod. 3:8), and now they found themselves on the other side of a sea that once represented hopelessness and defeat. Pharaoh’s abusive taskmasters and harsh work orders were in the past. Their future, by contrast, held promises of blessing, rest, and provision.
This reminder of deliverance is significant because forgetfulness proved to be one of Israel’s greatest struggles throughout the coming years — just as it is for us. As the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 106:21, they soon “forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt.” Even before Moses made it down from Mount Sinai they had created a golden calf to worship!
“If My people who are called by My name
will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
As election season ends, our country’s need for healing and unity is undeniably obvious. Months of campaigning has left us emotionally raw as many find themselves angry, confused, and worried about what the future holds. Whoever you are and whatever your political affiliation is, the last 48 hours must have awakened you to the fact that our country is changing in a drastic, and perhaps permanent way.
The question for Christians is this: amidst all the chaos, what should we be doing as believers? What role can we play in bringing peace to a troubled and torn country? Continue reading
"For there is one God
and one Mediator between God and men,
the Man Christ Jesus."
(1 Timothy 2:5)
Everywhere the President goes, he is surrounded by members of the Secret Service. These highly-trained guards protect current and former presidents, vice presidents, nominees of major political parties, and even foreign diplomats. Their job is simple: protect those under their care at all costs, even at the expense of their own safety. On March 30, 1981, agent Tim McCarthy was called on to do just that as he willingly took a bullet for President Reagan in the line of duty. As shots rang out in Washington, D.C., McCarthy stood between the President and his would-be assassin, likely saving Reagan’s life while risking his own.
Similarly, our salvation was accomplished by Christ, the one and only “Mediator between God and men” (emphasis added). Continue reading
"And take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God."
The morning dawned early with a deafening roar as massing enemy troops shouted across the ravine. Smoke from a thousand torches boiled up into the sky.
“Look lively!” cried the sergeant. “Up now! Into formation!”
Throwing on our boots and helmets, we rushed to obey.
“You forgot your sword,” I yelled to my comrade as he stood in line, his sheath swinging loosely at his side.
“You have one,” he said with a yawn.
“Mine is not enough for two of us,” I replied. “The enemy will have each his own weapon. So must we. Besides, I have practiced with my sword. Where is yours–the one you’ve spent hours with?” Continue reading
"Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God..."
The cover story for the November 2007 issue of National Geographic features a fascinating analysis of the human memory. The article tells the story of AJ, a 41-year-old-woman with an amazing ability to remember nearly every moment of her life since age 11. On the opposite end of the spectrum is EP, who suffered severe brain damage as a result of the herpes simplex virus. As a result, he is incapable of forming new memories and forgets every conversation within just a few seconds. The article is summarized well by its simple subtitle: “In the archives of the brain our lives linger or disappear.”
Technically speaking, the memory is the faculty by which our minds store and retrieve information. Practically speaking, however, it is much more than a stored pattern of connections between neurons in the brain; nearly every expression of your individuality comes from the archives of your memory. Continue reading
“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom
one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.”
The Gospel of John is incredibly unique. The writings of Matthew, Mark and Luke were written not long after the resurrection, and they are referred to by many as Synoptic Gospels based on their parallel descriptions of Christ’s earthly ministry.
John’s Gospel, on the other hand, was written after the holy city of Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans. All of the original apostles, including Paul, had been martyred for their faith, leaving John alone and with plenty of time to reflect on the significance of the events he was about to describe. And so with pen in hand, John begins his Gospel by introducing us to the Son of God with the timeless words, “In the beginning was the Word” (1:1). Continue reading
"I remembered Your judgments of old, O Lord,
And have comforted myself."
The cover story for the November 2007 issue of National Geographic features a fascinating analysis of the human memory. The article tells the story of AJ, a 41-year-old-woman with an amazing ability to remember nearly every moment of her life since age 11. On the opposite end of the spectrum is EP, who suffered severe brain damage as a result of the herpes simplex virus. Consequently, he is incapable of forming new memories and forgets every conversation within just a few seconds. The article is summarized well by its simple subtitle: “In the archives of the brain our lives linger or disappear.”
Princes persecute me without a cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your word.
If the thought of memorizing Scripture makes you cringe, then you know how I felt six years ago when I was challenged to start memorizing myself. It took me about four seconds to come up with a list of reasons why Scripture memory just wasn’t for me. I was quite proud of my list of excuses:
- “I have a bad memory.”
- “I don’t have enough time.”
- “Scripture memory might be commendable, but it’s probably not a requirement.”
- “Plenty of good people I know have never memorized a Bible verse.”
Despite my excuses, I decided to give Scripture memory a try for the next 40 days and see if it was worthwhile. More than 2,000 days later I’m still memorizing, and here’s what I’ve learned in the meantime: