Monday, June 1, 2015

"It is Written" - the lost practice of scripture memorization

Earlier this year The Point Church went through a 40 day season of prayer/fasting/teaching around various times in scripture where God used 40 days periods to prepare his people for a great work.  Our prayer as The Point Church was that God would use that season of prayer and fasting to help us clearly hear His voice above the chaos of our busy lives.

The first 40 day passage we studied was Luke 4 where Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and was repeatedly tempted by Satan.  While this is certainly impressive, what really grabbed my heart for the first time was how Jesus responded to temptation.  He always quoted scripture.  When Satan tried to tempt Jesus to break his fast, Jesus told Satan, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone."  This is a direct quotation of Deuteronomy 8:3 which reads "Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."  Jesus used the scripture he had memorized to overcome temptation!  

Many times we mistakenly think that because Jesus was God that he automatically knew the entire Bible.  However, this is not true.  Luke 2:52 says "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."  Jesus had to learn scripture just like the rest of us.  He was the God man... which means he was still man and someone we can model ourselves after!  

Did you realize that in the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, Jesus quoted 78 passages of scripture that he had memorized.  When Jesus taught, spoke, and prayed...scripture just poured out!  Jesus often used phrases like "It is written" or "you have heard it said" just before he went into another recitation of scripture. 

It was out of this growing conviction of the importance of scripture memory that I felt God calling me to memorize 40 verses during those 40 days.  I can tell you that it has been life transforming.  I have found myself praying God's word.  I have found myself thinking God's word.  I have found God's word begin to come out when I teach without even thinking about it.  I have found God bringing specific passages to my mind as I council people in our church.  I have found God's word convicting and challenging me as I interact with my family.  

One of the verses God laid on my heart to memorize during those 40 days was Joshua 1:8 and I have felt God leading me to make this my theme verse for 2015.  

"Keep this book of the law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." - Joshua 1:8

My goal for 2015 is to memorize 100 verses of scripture and more importantly to keep God's word always on my lips!  I would love to invite you to join me!  I use a index card binder to keep all of my verses in one place with tabs to separate verses I have memorized from verses I am still working on. 

Look for a second post in the next couple of days with an easy to use scripture memorization tool to help you memorize a verse every week and actually remember them for the rest of your life!  

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