Memorizing the Bible: A Simple Scriptural Challenge

In 2002, I attended a Christian Conference while I was in college. The speaker of that event strongly emphasized the need for scripture memory. The students like myself in that room did not want another chore on our busy college plates. Plus, no one likes more legalism. Anticipating these responses, the speaker had a very fair challenge to the room of about 1,000 students. First, he asked every student to stand up. Next, he asked students to remain standing if only they could quote as many scriptures from memory as their age. In other words, if the average college student was 21 years old, they should have 21 verses memorized. After giving his second requirement only about ten students out of 1,000 remained standing. In full transparency, I was one of the 990 students who sat down. Doing so, I knew there was no reason why I should be sitting because committing one Bible verse to memory each year is not difficult.

So, let’s be honest for a minute. Why do we struggle to memorize a minimum of one scripture verse a year? This suggestion is not a harsh approach; rather, one scripture verse a year is more gracious than legalistic. Factoring in that we could count John 11:35, which says, “Jesus wept,” it’s an attainable goal. So, why do we struggle to memorize scripture? We may not know how, but an answer we should wrestle with is that we are lazy.

Lazy is a harsh term, but notice I included myself in this critique. I too could memorize more scripture than I do. Plus, if we focus on doing just one verse a year, then lazy is probably an accurate definition, even if it is a strong term. Furthermore, lazy is the opposite of self-control, which is the final Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Still, since we should want to practice good spiritual discipline related to scripture memory, it would help to have a few practical suggestions too. Continue reading “Memorizing the Bible: A Simple Scriptural Challenge”

Recommended Devotional Guides

page45_picture0_slide_1312245123Recently I wrote an article encouraging you that there is always time to have a personal devotional. All it takes is a little planning and knowing what options are available. One of my suggestions included the use of a personal devotional guide. As a result, today I want to suggest to you some great devotional books. These suggestions are based a variety of reasons, which I’ll explain with each recommendation.

  1. New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp. This suggestion is the newest one to be published. It makes the list because of Tripp’s emphasis on grace each day. Recently, it has been my conviction that Christians need to be reminded of grace on a continual basis. Also, we need to remember how grace influences our lives beyond salvation. Grace should create a peaceful, hopeful, and positive change within us. This devotional accomplishes this because it is Christ-centered than one based on our interests.
  1. My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Many may already be familiar with this devotional because it is a classic. It’s strength is due to Chamber’s own reflections about how God works despite our circumstances. Chambers himself went through years of spiritual dryness, which is reflected in this devotional. So if you feel distant from God or confused then My Utmost For His Highest will provide some clarity. The best part of this devotional is that it comes in a variety of formats. There are journal based editions, old English editions, contemporary English editions, and more.

Continue reading “Recommended Devotional Guides”

Journaling: “Don’t Just Think It, Ink It!”

Unknown“Don’t just think it, ink it.”

This motivational quote can guide us in an important part of our spiritual journey, which is journaling.

As with anything there are many different ways to journal and in this article I want to share with you one of the two ways I journal. The first method will be shared today and the second method will be shared in the next post.

Also, know that while I may use two different methods, this does not mean that each person must use two methods. In fact, some people I know have difficulty using one journaling method. To be truthful, there are times I struggle with it. So I share these two methods with the hope that will inspire you. If not, then please feel free to share or modify either method in a way that enables you to grow in your faith.

Method #1: List Method and Some Narrative Writing

Often when someone thinks about journaling they picture someone writing a long narrative of something on their mind. The event could be reflections from their day, struggles they are facing, or anything else This technique is beneficial and I do use it from time to time, but it’s not how I primarily journal.

Rather, I list things out regarding a particular subject. If I feel I know enough about the topic I may even create an outline. Otherwise, I just list out words related to the subheading and date I’ve made in my journal. Then if I use the right words in my list I can refer back to it later and remember the gist of what I was thinking. If I feel more detail is needed, then I use the narrative technique mentioned earlier.

As a result, this process has allowed me to actively journal in a digestible way. This short natured approach encourages me to journal more as I don’t have to commit large chunks of time to writing. Instead, I’m free to write, as I desire. If more detail is needed, the option remains.

Final Thoughts

images-1Sometimes I’m asked, “Do you think pen and paper or technology is best for journaling?” My answer is, “Use what works best for you.” Since I believe in the power of journaling I’m not going to be strict either way.

That said, for this method I do use my smartphone than pen and paper. This is because with my active mind, a thought could come at any point and I want to jot them down ASAP. So I use my phone’s note taking feature because it’s the simplest. It’s also the most accessible for when those quick thoughts happen.

Again, if something I say inspires you and can be modified to fit you better, please change the method. The purpose is that you are journaling than not.